In recent weeks, the news has been flooded with articles about Brett Kavanaugh: America’s newest member of the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh was nominated by President Trump earlier this year, before multiple allegations of sexual assault appeared against him.
The first came from Christine Blasey Ford, who disclosed that she had been assaulted by Kavanaugh in high school. She reported that he had forcefully restrained her and groped her and that she genuinely feared for her life. Her account was supported by lie detector tests and notes from earlier therapy sessions, providing clear weight to her accusation.
The next accusation was presented by Deborah Ramirez around a week after Ford’s. Ramirez went to Yale University alongside Kavanaugh and reported that he indecently exposed himself to her in a college party. Ramirez had been too afraid to come forward prior to this time as the influence of the alcohol from the evening may have affected her memory. However, as with Ford’s allegation, her story was successfully corroborated by a classmate of hers.
The final credible allegation came from Julie Swetnick, who claimed to have witnessed Kavanaugh display abusive behavior towards girls at parties in the 1980s. At these parties, boys would often spike girls’ drinks and then gang rape them. Swetnick signed a sworn declaration confirming this account.
Kavanaugh’s response was obviously to blindly deny all the allegations and even to brand them as ‘smear campaigns’ designed to debase him. Trump continued to endorse Kavanaugh’s campaign despite the mounting pile of allegations against him and he was eventually confirmed to the Supreme Court.
What this reveals about modern America is truly terrifying. How a man repeatedly accused of sexual assault can be appointed to one of the highest positions in the American justice system is utterly baffling. It demonstrates a clear corruption and moral vacuum that exists within the American political elite. Trump’s endorsement of Kavanaugh, though not entirely surprising, makes the situation even more distressing as one of the most powerful men in the world, someone who vowed to protect the American people, is openly pardoning and supporting this kind of behaviour.
All of this is underpinned by the inherent misogyny that continues to permeate the public consciousness. It is unfathomable that men are simply able to behave in this way and receive no consequences for their actions. When Trump was asked to comment on Kavanaugh’s hearing, he argued that it is a ‘scary time’ for men in American who are now ‘guilty until proven innocent’. This is hugely problematic as he is creating sympathy for accused sex offenders and suggesting that being wary or suspicious of them is wrong. The grotesque miscalculation of his statement was aptly and hilariously captured by Twitter user @LynzyLab who posted a song comparing the ‘scary time’ that men and women experience.
https://twitter.com/LynzyLab/status/1049215347025465344 (link to the song)
Kavanaugh is another ominous example of how the people in power can be so blinded by self interest that they completely disregard the experiences of others. It is reminiscent of the hegemonic sports culture that allowed Brock Turner to receive such a short prison sentence and it is far too prevalent in our society. In a time so characterised by female empowerment through things such as the MeToo movement, it is astounding that things like this are still able to happen at such a high level. This is only one example of how America, and all of us, need to do better.