(CNSNews.com) - "The one silver lining that I hope will come from this is that more women will press charges now when they are assaulted," Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.
Collins said the lack of corroborating witnesses led her to vote in favor of confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, even though she's convinced that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford may have been molested by someone.
Collins said it pains her to be accused of disbelieving Ford and other victims of sexual assault:
"When I hear that, it causes me huge pain, because I have met with so many survivors of sexual attacks, including close friends. And these women have the right to be heard. They have the right to be treated with respect.
"And I think one of the tragedies of what we have just gone through is Christine Blasey Ford wanted to have her allegations treated confidentially. She did not seek the limelight. She did not want to testify in public. And because someone leaked the letter that she sent, her whole life has been turned upside down. I think that was wrong and despicable."
Collins said it appears that "some" people "wanted to use Dr. Ford for partisan purposes. "And that really saddens me, because, otherwise, they would have gone with her expressed wishes, which is to have been interviewed in private, to have kept her allegations confidential. They still could have been thoroughly explored. And I think that's really shameful. I do not think the system treated her well."
Collins also said she thinks the events of the past few weeks have "been an awakening for this country."
"I don't think most of us had any idea how pervasive the problem of sexual assault is. Sexual harassment, yes, we knew that. But sexual assault -- and that's why the MeToo movement has been important. That's why it's been important that so many of these women for the first time ever have come forward.
"And it is important that we treat people fairly. And that's what we need to do."