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‘Don't go to a hotel room’ with a drunk man. Councilmember Kathy Lambert’s full KUOW interview

caption: King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert spoke with KUOW about the need for healing as a society.
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King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert spoke with KUOW about the need for healing as a society.

The King County Council member took issue with a KUOW story about a campaign event for Sen. Joe Fain this past Sunday, during which she was interviewed. Below is the full transcript.

Two weeks ago, Seattle woman and former city official Candace Faber tweeted shortly after the Kavanaugh hearings that Sen. Joe Fain had raped her in 2007. Fain has denied the allegations, but has not answered specific questions about them.

"I think it's a two-way street," Lambert said to KUOW at the campaign event. "I tell my daughters you don't go to a hotel room with a man who is drinking. You just don't do that."

Lambert added: “When I was younger, slapping a woman on the butt was a compliment.”

In response to the KUOW story about the campaign event and her interview, Lambert issued a press release in which she said: "I did not, nor would I ever attack Ms. Faber or question the sincerity of her allegations. As a survivor of domestic abuse, I would never do that."

 Lambert's statement continued: “Every accusation of sexual assault, harassment or domestic violence deserves to be heard, taken seriously and investigated thoroughly."

King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer had attended Fain's event, too. But three other King County Council members sought to distance themselves from Lambert's comments. Councilmembers Rod Dembowski, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, and Joe McDermott released a statement shortly after saying that Lambert's comments did not represent the Council. "We believe survivors," the statement read.

Below is the full transcription of Lambert's comments. Click on the play button above to listen to the full interview.

Kathy Lambert, King County Council member: And she's made allegations against other people in the past, too, and I think it's sad. But I think Joe is a man of integrity. I have known Joe for many, many years. And I think he’s handled this as well as anybody could, and I think we need to be aware that many people have many hurts. And listen to their hurts. And also remember that people are innocent until proven guilty. 

[Context: Faber has described an experience she had when she was 16 on Medium in a longer piece about what she says happened with Fain, but did not name anyone else involved.]

Sydney Brownstone, KUOW: How would you like to see this proceed? Sen. Fain has said he would welcome an investigation. What would that investigation ideally look like to you?  

Lambert: I think to clear his name, because his name is a very important thing to him. And he is a man of integrity, so of course that is important to him. And I also think it should be on the other side, to see how many allegations she’s made in the past. And I think that is important too.  

KUOW: Are you talking about on the criminal side, or on the political side, the legislative side? 

Lambert: I don't know that it's risen to a criminal issue. And if the legislature is willing to do that, that's fine.  

Her allegations, I don't think, have been very specific, necessarily, so I think she should write out what she thinks. I mean she's been writing it out. So there's plenty for people to look at.  

[Context: Candace Faber, a former City of Seattle official, says that Sen. Joe Fain of Auburn in 2007 asked her to take him back to his hotel, where she says that he raped her.] 

KUOW: There was a picture that surfaced of Sen. Fain and Candace Faber that night, so it seems like the question is not whether he was with her that night, but whether he raped her. And after what we have seen with the Kavanaugh investigation, some are wondering whether the Republican party needs to take what women who are accusing men of sexual assault more seriously. How would you respond to that?  

Kathy Lambert: Well, I think it's a two-way street. You know, I tell my daughters you don't go to a hotel room with a man who has been drinking. You just don't do that. So I think it's a two-way street, where we need both sides to be responsible for our behaviors. She did say one thing, that they were very intently kissing beforehand, so maybe an investigation needs to be both ways. 

[Context: Candace Faber said they had been flirting earlier in the night and kissing at her Georgetown University graduation party held at a night club. She said it was a day after she had met Fain.] 

KUOW: Is there anything else you would like to add?  

Lambert: Just that he's a wonderful man, and that I'm sorry to see that all across the country, we're going back 10, 20, 30, 40 years. It's interesting to me to see that we're talking on the one hand about expunging people's criminal records because we don't want people to have their past negatively impact their future. And yet when it comes to sexual issues, you can go back hundreds of years and have that impact people's futures.  

KUOW: Even if it were true, do you think it's relevant?  

Lambert: You know, I think what people did 10 years ago is 10 years ago. I wasn't there. And I can't judge. And I think we all need to stop judging one another and start appreciating who we each are and show a little more grace and kindness to one another. You know, things have changed, and people need to be aware that we are all responsible for our own behaviors. I mean, she admitted that she went to the room.  

KUOW: Yeah, she did.  

Lambert: So, you know, that was probably not a good choice on her part either.  

KUOW: Do you think that even she had gone to the room, and even if it were true, that she deserved what happened after?  

Lambert: Nobody deserves anything that happens to them. Nobody also deserves the kind of things said when we don't know what happened. Ruining people's reputations when none of us were there, there’s no investigation, and living under a cloud that may or may not be true, is not fair to anybody.  

KUOW: Thank you for your comments, I appreciate it.  

Lambert: It's hard to watch everybody be under scrutiny. It really is. I think about the Bible story that says, if you're the first without sin, throw the stone. I wasn't there, I don't know what happened. And I know the man that is today, and he's a fabulous man. I know his mom and dad, too, and his mom and dad are pretty fabulous people, so I know how he grew up. 

Anyway, this whole thing needs to be people starting over all across the country.  

[Context: The Biblical passage Lambert is referring to is John 8:1-11 where Jesus halts the stoning of a woman accused of adultery by religious leaders]

KUOW: In what sense?  

Lambert: There's a lot of anger and hate coming everywhere. And anger and hate is not good for our society. So I think we need to do something where we stop and say, if you're hurt, we need to get counseling. Because carrying this hurt and throwing it out to everybody is not good for our society.

I had a talk with the director of public health the other day about seeing if there's some kind of ceremony that we could do where people would write down their hurts and their pain and be able to have some ceremony over it, whether it's a religious one or a societal one, and let those hurts go, because you can't carry your pains forever and have a healthy life. 

KUOW: Do you think it's possible to start fresh, start clean, if those hurts aren't acknowledged by the perpetrators of violence?  

Lambert: You can't control another person. You can only control your own emotions and how you deal with them.

Okay, I'll tell you a personal story. You know that I am a survivor of domestic violence, right?  

My ex-husband doesn’t usually acknowledge the half of what happened. But does that mean I have to be angry forever? No, it doesn’t. You know, you need to let it go, and that’s what I had to do. What’s best for me and my family is for me to let those things go. I know what happened, I have worked it out, and then you let it go.

I think we all need to have the idea that our rules are different now, and that both men and women need to treat each other with more respect than in the past.  

It still happens in the boardroom. A new kind of abuse. You know where a woman will give an idea, a big idea, two minutes later another man will say that idea, and now it’s brilliant.  

So you know maybe we need to just talk about it. What kinds of things are happening that we all know are happening, and say we don’t do those kinds of things anymore, and start from scratch. And say these are all new rules. Things were different in the past.  

When I was young, slapping a woman on the butt was a compliment. Do that now you’d be dead. So things are different.  

It’s not good to keep drumming up your anger and your pain, and I know that personally, you have to let your pain go. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Work it out with your counselor.  

She's made her accusations, but she continues to make more comments. So it is what it is.  

KUOW: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.  

Lambert: It is like a Pandora’s box for every man and every woman in the country. Do you really want to unleash 30, 50 years of everybody's pain? 

KUOW: How would healing happen otherwise?  

Lambert: Individually. You go to your counselor individually, and do that. It doesn't need to be personal. 'Cause even for your spouse, when they hear all these things, your spouse, your parents, they live the pain all over again.  

It's just better to go to your counselor, your coach, whoever you trust, your minister, your priest, whatever, you work it out. And that’s the past. I think all of us need to be able to do that. And then say, okay, what are the rules now? Be really clear about it.  

I don't like in the board room, when ideas are, you know – and you see it happen all the time. So, you know, being clear, what are the new rules? Because most people don't feel comfortable saying, what are the new rules? So we should talk about that, but not in an accusation kind of way. What are the new rules so everybody knows what is appropriate and what’s not.  

KUOW: With this particular situation, you could say rape was criminal 10 years ago, 11 years ago, it's still criminal today. Those are her allegations. She is not changing them. Does it matter, if it was 11 years ago, if it's true?  

Lambert: Well, there's a statute of limitations on almost everything. So, you know, if it doesn't stop the pain – but that's partly we need to get counselors. For whatever pain you have in your life. The more you live in that pain, the worse it gets. So getting rid of it is better for you.  

Anyway, I don’t want to monopolize more of your time. I hope you get to see what a wonderful person he is.  

KUOW: Yeah, I’m hoping to speak with him.   

Lambert: Good.  

Correction, 2:12 p.m., 10/17/18: The original version of this post misstated when Faber says she and Fain met.


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