On the 7th of October, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice despite the multiple allegations of sexual assault, in particular by Dr. Christine Ford who recounted her experience in front of the Senate, as well as millions more online, and I wish I could say that I was surprised. I wish I could say that I was shocked that someone who was accused of sexual assault by multiple women, holds a place in the highest court in America – but how can I when the President was accused of rape and sexual assault by upwards of 20 women. I wish I could say that I’m shocked but I’m not.
On the 27th of September, Dr. Ford testified that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school together in the 80’s. In her testimony, she can clearly be seen holding back tears, but she was not the only one. People all over the world watched her testimony and were moved to tears. Regardless of where they were or what they were doing, people believed her and were moved by her.
Ford recounted the details she could remember and clearly stated that she was 100% certain that the person who assaulted her was Brett Kavanaugh. However, Dr. Ford was unable to answer questions surrounding the attack such as how she got there, how she got home, and where the attack took place among other questions. A point that President Trump chose not to hold back on and mocked her for, the problem with this – of which there are many – is that when you mock one victim, you affect so many more. It is normal for people to forget what happened surrounding a traumatic event, your brain is trying to deal with what happened and any emotional pain that you feel at the time, so while you’re walking home, your brain is doing a thousand other things to help you get there.
Having met people right after they have faced such attacks I can say that I completely understand how she could have forgotten those details. Quite often attacks such as these leave people in shock, they know that they have to go home so they will walk or drive home, but often it’s as if they are in a ghost-like state. As if what has just happened is replaying on repeat in their head, they are trying to understand and deal with any immediate emotional and physical trauma. Many people, therefore, can’t remember if they took a left or a right on a street if they took the bus or walked. All they can remember are the facts, in Dr. Ford’s case, it’s that she was assaulted at a friend’s house. She can remember where his hands went, what they did, how forceful he was, but not how she got home, and that is normal.
However, this was not enough for President Trump, who not only mocked her but stands by what he did because: ‘we won’. While I would have understood Trump stating that he believes Kavanaugh, mocking a woman who states she was a victim of sexual assault is never ok. It may have been 50 years ago, but it isn’t now.
“I am a sexual assault survivor, Trump the other day was speaking at a rally, and he said, ‘She has no memory of how she got to the party. Should we trust that she remembers the assault?’ And the answer is ‘yes.’ I also know this woman is smart because she’s a psychologist – she’s no dummy. If someone is assaulted or experiences trauma, there’s science and scientific proof – it’s biology – that people change. The brain changes. What it does is it takes the trauma and it puts it in a box and it files it away and shuts it so that we can survive the pain.
And it also does a lot of other things. It can cause body pain. It can cause baseline elevations in anxiety. It can cause complete avoidance of not wanting to even remember or think about what happened to you. But what I believe […] is that when this woman saw that Judge Kavanaugh was going to be put in the highest position of power in the judicial system of this country, she was triggered, and that box opened. And when that box opened, she was brave enough to share it with the world to protect this country.”
- Lady Gaga, on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show
What is surprising though is that following Kavanaugh’s Senate hearing, calendars may be considered a valid form of evidence. Think about it, If calendars are good enough for the Senate, then they must be good enough for everyone from courts to your parents. Did you ever sneak out and your parents were suspicious? Well, if it’s not on the calendar then it didn’t happen. Although, I imagine the majority of people don’t write the crimes that they commit down in a calendar or anywhere else for that matter. So, the Senate should reconsider allowing calendars in as evidence and instead look for more concrete forms, such as witness testimonies. However, when an investigation was opened, the FBI interviewed far fewer witnesses than they were supplied with. Seems odd, no?
The FBI contacted 10 people, and they comprehensively interviewed nine people, out of upwards of 30 names they were supplied with that could have allegedly provided evidence that would support Dr. Ford and Ms. Ramirez’ claims. This investigation has been labeled as a sham by many people, as the FBI did not investigate the claims to the full extent that they could have, nor did they try to.
Can it really be said that it’s a difficult time for men in America right now when a man can be accused of sexual assault and still be given one of the highest-ranking jobs in the country, while their accuser is forced into hiding?
Dr. Ford came forward with an allegation of sexual assault against Kavanagh, a decision which in no way could benefit her because the best case scenario was that Kavanaugh wouldn’t have been elected, but she would still be hated by many Republicans. However, the worst-case scenario was what unfolded. Kavanaugh was elected anyway, and not only is Dr. Ford now hated by many, but she and her family have been forced into hiding due to the abundance of death threats she has received. Dr. Ford made a huge sacrifice in an attempt to protect her country, she shouldn’t be shamed, mocked, or forced into hiding. She should be respected, thanked, and supported moving forward.
The past two years have shown progress in women being able to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and support, but evidently, that work is not done yet. Women’s fears are still being confirmed: that coming forward doesn’t mean justice. This needs to change, and men and women everywhere are fighting for this change.
To everyone who has come forward with their stories and especially to Dr. Ford, thank you for your courage, we believe you and we support you.