Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) has reportedly revealed to Bloomberg News that she was raped in college while she was in a “very abusive” relationship. Ernst was quoted by the news outlet Wednesday saying she entered a relationship with someone who was “physically and sexually abusive” and was raped at his home while she was a student at Iowa State University. The man later threatened to kill himself if she broke up with him, Ernst said. She told Bloomberg she called the campus sexual assault counseling center’s hotline and ended the relationship. She reportedly did not contact police about the incident, but a male who was friends with Ernst in college told Bloomberg she told him about the rape shortly after it allegedly happened. “I didn’t want to share it with anybody, and in the era of hashtag-MeToo survivors, I always believed that every person is different and they will confront their demons when they’re ready,” Ernst said in the interview. “And I was not ready.”
Ernst also defended her response to Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused then-Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault ahead of his confirmation, claiming that “ evidence and witnesses presented by [Ford] contradicted her story.” “I do believe she experienced trauma... “I don’t believe Justice Kavanaugh was the source of her trauma,” she was quoted as saying. Ernst's comments came during her first interview since details of her divorce were released earlier this week, with court filings reportedly revealing that she alleged her husband physically abused her.