4 Reasons Why the Kavanaugh Case Should Matter to You

A few weeks ago, Brett Kavanaugh appeared to be a shoo-in for the nomination for the Supreme Court. That is, until a woman by the name of Christine Blasey Ford came forward to reveal that when they were in high school (in 1982) he had sexually assaulted her. You might ask: why does this case matter to me when it looks like almost all the news surrounding this case involves more about the status of his nomination and less about the assault itself? To begin with, here’s Dr. Ford’s opening statement: https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/09/27/christine-blasey-ford-full-testimony-senate-hearing-vpx.cnn

1) Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assaults (1). That equates to almost 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 20 boys. It is important for us to recognize that this case is not isolated. Sexual assault occurs constantly, not only on college campuses, but all over.

2) Of these female victims, only 20% report to law enforcement (1). Women around the age of Christine Blasey Ford at the time of her attack are not only at a higher risk of experiencing such assault but also are less likely to report it. Now, 36 years after her assault, Dr. Ford has gained the courage to report her assault even when at risk of political mudslinging.

3) Some reasons that these victims do not report include believing that police wouldn’t or couldn’t help, not wanting to get the perpetrator in trouble, thinking it wasn’t important enough to report, having a fear of reprisal, or believing it to be a personal matter1. Dr. Ford abstained from reporting for all these years due to similar fears as one can hear in her statement.

4) According to the National Sexual Violence Research Center, only 2-10% of victim’s claims are false, leaving 90-98% of claims to be true (2). However, this case reminds us that the word of the victim isn’t always supported or believed even when all the evidence points in their favor whether it be due to something as ridiculous as the way the victim is dressed or, as is in the case of Dr. Ford, political motives on behalf of many.

Overall it is important for us all to remember that Dr. Ford’s accusation carries a lot more weight than simply the difference between Brett Kavanaugh receiving the nomination or not. While that may be the difference for him, Dr. Ford coming forward years after her assault represents an act of strength on behalf of victims everywhere, which is why this case should matter to you, whether you’re politically involved or not. 

 

1. https://www.rainn.org/statistics/campus-sexual-violence

2. https://www.nsvrc.org/statistics