A few days ago, the news broke about Prince William County Republican Board of Supervisors Chair candidate John Gray’s racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic, appalling, and utterly disqualifying tweets. Today, the Prince William County Board met for the first time since then, giving Supervisors and the public the chance to weigh in. As you can see in the following videos, as well in more video available at the Board of County Supervisors website, there were powerful statements – by Republican Supervisors and by a young survivor of sexual assault – condemning John Gray, in no uncertain terms, as a “disgrace,” as showing a “complete lack of judgement,” and as “the one who should make you want to vomit.”
First, here’s an extremely courageous sexual assault survivor, speaking out in public about why John Gray’s comments about rape were so appalling, hurtful, etc. The survivor’s powerful words were as follows:
“I thought I was safe, and I made it through most of my childhood. But one night I was in my bed sleeping, and someone came and sexually assaulted me when I was in my own bedroom sleeping. I now attend ACTS and have a trained comfort dog who must sleep with me because my night terrors are so horrible. I am scared to be alone in so many different situations.
As you can imagine, I was absolutely horrified to learn that a candidate for the Chair of County Supervisors thinks that rape survivors should be shamed into silence. John Gray’s exact words were, ‘okay rape victims. it’s enough already; will the three people left in government or Hollywood who haven’t been sexually harassed in the last millennium please raise your hand so the rest of us can get on with our lives? You are all so full of yourselves that I want to puke.’
Well the sad thing is that I can’t get on with my life. I actually will have PTSD for the rest of my life. He was so ashamed that he paid to have these words deleted. My question to you all, do you have daughters? Do you have mothers? When you look at me do you want to puke? Do you stand with rape culture or do you stand with the survivors? Do you stand with me and this woman right here, because there’s also people in the audience who are in my survivor group? Will you allow this man to be on your board? Will you sit beside him day in day out knowing that this is what’s truly in his heart, knowing that many sexual assault survivors report to our Police Department, to ACTS, to the Prince William Mental Health Services and to all who want to work with the Board of Directors? How can John Gray possibly fund and represent these survivors? I call on you all now to take a stand. Your county needs you to speak up for us. Because John Gray is the one who should make you want to vomit – not us.”
Next, here’s Supervisor Martin Nohe (R-Coles District), a conservative Republican – but not an extremist or bigot, like John Gray, who somehow got more votes than the universally respected Nohe for the Republican nomination this past spring. First, Nohe joined Caddigan in praising the “incredible act of courage and confidence” of the “young lady who stood at the podium.” Nohe said that he didn’t want to talk about the tweets sent out by Gray, because he didn’t want it to be seen as “sour grapes.” But “I feel like I need to respond to what she said.” “Particularly, she was talking about the way in which people who would aspire to be leaders in the community or would claim to want to be leaders in the community interact with the community.” Nohe added:
Finally, here are the comments by Supervisor Maureen Caddigan (R-Potomac District), who first praised the “young lady,” saying she could “not believe how brave she was” to have “the courage to come out today and pour [her] heart and tell [her] very intimate concerns to us.” Caddigan then ripped into her fellow Republican, John Gray, saying:
“I condemn…I had no idea whatsoever…I don’t do tweets I don’t read tweets, and I had no idea that this was going on. Shame on him. I feel he’s lost the election…Terrible to break the heart of these parents and the little girl that’s going to live with this the rest of her life. So shame on you, John Gray! I hope you listen to this today. That is a disgrace and you are supposed to be a Christian.”