What I Learned from Dr. Ford's Testimony

The past two weeks, Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford have taken over the news. I was vaguely aware of Judge Kavanaugh and his nomination for the Supreme Court. I was vaguely aware that his nomination could effectively end abortion rights in the United States. I was vaguely aware that he was being charged with sexual misconduct. Over the past two weeks, I have listened to the coverage of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing every morning, and I have grown more upset and impassioned with each new story. Politics aside, the Kavanaugh case has taught me a lot, not only about how women in this country are treated but how their treatment has directly impacted myself and other young women in this country.

I was raised to believe that I could do anything I put my mind to. I was raised to believe that everyone was created equal and that I should treat everyone with respect. I learned through personal experience and conversations with peers, that I should treat everyone, however, I myself would want to be treated and that you never truly know what another human being is going through. These are personal beliefs that I have worked very hard to live by.

On Thursday, September the 27th, I woke up and considered missing class in order to watch Dr. Ford’s opening statement. Instead, my professor offered to stream the hearing in place of our normal class. She noted the importance of watching this particular hearing at Brandeis University, where Anita Hill is now a prominent professor. The class was discussing specific comments throughout the start of Dr. Ford’s opening statement and researching some of the information cited by Senators Grassley and Feinstein as we watched the hearing unfold. As Dr. Ford continued her story, however, the room fell silent. One student left. As I looked at my classmates, mouths were open in horror, arms were crossed in discomfort, everyone’s eyes glued on Dr. Ford. I considered the situation that we, as college students, are in.

I watched the rest of the hearing throughout the day, in the end finding myself too frustrated to watch Kavanaugh himself. It wasn’t until today, nearly four days later, that I found myself able to watch clips of him speak. There’s a lot that Kavanaugh taught me about how the United States treats women, especially female sexual assault survivors. In the end though, I learned far more from Dr. Ford.

Dr. Ford reminded me of many things. She reminded me that sexual assault is extremely prevalent and that survivors of sexual assault are treated with a level of disrespect incomparable to anything else. She reminded me of the women who have come before her. She reminded me of Anita Hill, the injustice she experienced, the work she has done in defiance of all those who tried to push her down, and the voice she has used to stand up for others. I am reminded of my friends. I am reminded of how proud I am to be a woman.

 

Dr. Ford came forward with the truth she believed her country deserved to hear. She recounted the events that happened to her with grace, poise, and honesty. She used her Ph.D. in psychology to calmly explain how she was able to remember the assault so many years later. She proved to a country with a history of ignoring sexual abuse, that this is not behavior we as citizens will tolerate. She proved that women are not too emotional to have difficult discussions. She continued the fight for acknowledgment, respect, and equality.