Rush Limbaugh's personal attacks on Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke's character may have taken the nation aback, but Fluke says she wasn't shocked by much of what the talk show host had to say about her.
"Perhaps I am a cynic, because [Limbaugh's] attacks were not that surprising to me," Fluke told a small audience of New York movers and shakers at an intimate dinner following a gala event for the Women's Campaign Fund to benefit female politicians and their causes. "They were outrageous, obviously, but we've seen this [sort of tactic] before. This is an old trick out of the old boys' playbook, to try to silence women."
What Fluke was surprised by, however, was how Limbaugh's remarks seemed to touch a particularly sensitive nerve for so many women -- and men -- across the country.
"I almost felt that the groundswell of support for me was more surprising," Fluke said, noting the numerous messages of support she's received in recent weeks. "I'm so grateful that Americans proved me wrong on that one, and reacted so supportively in those moments."
Support may be in abundance for Fluke these days, but sleep certainly isn't. Fluke is, on some level, living something of a double life at the moment -- attending galas, lectures, and political events on the side while attempting to maintain her studies at Georgetown.
The evening before accepting last night's first-ever "Name It. Change It." award recognizing her advocacy, she said she was up all night scrambling to finish a class paper -- a quintessentially collegiate move, and one perhaps refreshingly normal to hear from a woman whose boyfriend, Adam Mutterperl, characterized recent events as "a bit surreal."
But as the outcry over Limbaugh's remarks cools and the Affordable Care Act winds its way through the Supreme Court, Fluke says she hopes to shine the media's spotlight on other women's legislation in the works right now.
"One thing I'm very concerned about is the Violence Against Women act," Fluke told The Huffington Post after receiving the award.
The Act, which passed initially in 1994 and is currently up for re-authorization, has received pushback from some members of the Senate because the newest version provides domestic violence support for gays, lesbians, Native Americans and illegal immigrants.
"This has been landmark bipartisan legislation since 1994 ... this year it's having problems in Congress that it never faced before," Fluke said. "Violence against women should not be something that any of us are having any trouble agreeing about."
While Fluke continues to follow the legislation that matters to her, right now she says her main focus is finishing law school. Asked repeatedly if she might have a future in political office, Fluke admitted she is "talking to a number of people right now about some exciting job opportunities."
But according to Fluke, finding fame in her next step isn't nearly as important as advancing the causes she cares about. "I'm just looking for ways to talk about these policies that matter to me, and that matter to women," Fluke said. "I'm just trying to make something positive out of this unfortunate situation."