“A woman that has great education and training and a great job is not susceptible to this kind of abuse by men, women or anyone,” said Bud Pierce, an oncologist.
“Okay, so,” Pierce continued over the boos. “Powerful women have access to lawyers and courts and go at it. But the women who are most vulnerable are poor women who don’t have a place to turn, because they don’t have shelter or family around them. So I would argue that in addition to strong laws and going after every sexual predator and every abuser, the way we can make every woman … less susceptible to being harmed is to make them powerful.”
After the debate, Pierce clarified his remarks in a statement and apologized to Brown: “I know that any woman, regardless of economic status, can be subject to domestic violence and sexual abuse.”
Her spokesman, Chris Pair, confirmed Brown’s revelation to KGW, and a campaign official told the local news channel that Brown was not referring to her husband: “As Governor Brown noted, she and countless other women from all walks of life have experienced domestic violence.”
After Pierce made his comments about what kind of women are susceptible to sexual violence, a visibly shaken Brown asked for a chance to rebut: “I’m honestly not sure where to start,” she said. “I grew up in a middle-class family. I went to law school. I know what it feels like to be paid less — substantially less — than the male lawyer in the office next to me. This is not just about power; it’s about making sure that people are not discriminated against because of their gender, because of their race and because of their sexual orientation.”
Brown is Oregon’s second female governor and the first openly bisexual governor in U.S. history. She’s favored to win the special election in November for the state’s top job. In February 2015, Brown was Oregon’s secretary of state when she succeeded Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), who resigned amid a public corruption scandal involving him and his fiance just one month after he was sworn into a historic fourth term in office.