Brett Kavanaugh Faces Sexual Assault Allegations: Hearing Scheduled for Monday

President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, was the center of a circus during his public hearing starting on September 4th. Kavanaugh was nominated on July 9th after Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy retired, leaving a vacant seat. His public hearing morphed into a partisan-fueled and polarized display of American politics. Many Democrat members, most notably Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Cory Brooker — two 2020 presidential hopefuls — desired to stop his nomination due to the absence of a filibuster. This is unsurprising behavior when considering of our political climate. Civility has gone out the door, no matter where you sit on the spectrum. Extremists on both sides appear to have taken on a “beat against all odds” strategy. Yet, trouble for Kavanaugh didn’t disappear after his humiliating public hearing.

Over the weekend, Christine Blasey Ford came forward and accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in the early 1980s. In a Washington Post interview, she described an event that happened 35 years ago between the two when they were in high school. She said they were at a house party where Kavanaugh was incredibly drunk, and he tried to sexually abuse her. Ford says Kavanaugh and his buddy, Mark Judge — a conservative journalist and author — pushed her into a room, groped her, fumbled with her clothing and put his hand over her mouth when she attempted to scream. Judge then jumped on the bed, giving Ford the opportunity to run away and hide. “I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, who is a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. Ford doesn’t remember the exact year of this event, where the party was, how she got there or how she got home.

The first time she revealed details of her traumatizing event was in a couples interview in 2012, 30 years after the incident occured. The notes taken down by the therapist contain no names — as they were not released by Ford. But, her husband backs up her story and says she disclosed the identities of her offenders to him privately. The record also does not account for the correct amount of those accused. It says 4, but Ford said it only involved Kavanaugh and Judge. Kavanaugh outright rejects these accusations. “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.” This is the ultimate “he said, she said” debate. There is no physical evidence, only 35 year old memories. Sexual assaults by their very nature are unfortunately one of the hardest legalities to prove indubitably. Ford sent in a letter of this assault in late July that made it into the hands of Dianne Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Ford requested her name be kept confidential. There was no mention of this principal allegation made during the initial hearing. It is unclear whether Feinstein found the allegation to be credible or sufficiently important, but she did not alert the FBI when they were conducting Kavanaugh’s background check.

In early August, Ford passed a polygraph administered by a former FBI agent. According to the Post, the results found “that Ford was being truthful when she said a statement summarizing her allegations was accurate.” This allegation is a character assassination, as it would be for anyone. Kavanaugh is known as a man who regularly serves meals to homeless people, tutors underprivileged elementary school children, mentors minority law students applying for judicial clerkships and coaches his daughters’ basketball teams. In an article published by two of Kavanaugh’s former female law clerks, they praise him for his “rock-solid character and integrity.” They claim he’s a champion of women’s equality, and unlike the dirty perv Weinstein, so far we do not have women coming forward to corroborate similar stories. Initially, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley refused to reschedule the committee vote this Thursday — which would’ve sent the nomination to the full senate. Now, the vote is in limbo. Kavanaugh and Ford are scheduled for an anticipated explosive public hearing (showdown) this upcoming Monday, only weeks before the midterm election.

As a young, female, 20 year-old college student, I cannot help but consider the environment I’m surrounded by everyday when I hear news like this. I live on a campus where, statistically, 1 in every 5 women are the victim of a sexual assault. The trauma and life-altering consequences of these experiences are not to be taken lightly. These allegations come with the backdrop of the #MeToo movement — something I am proud to witness. Women have grown to empower one another by finding strength in their stories rather than shame. These women deserve to have their voices heard and justice served. A lot of people have raised the inquiry: is it fair to judge a 17 year-old’s drunk mistake? Ford’s story undoubtedly is horrific, and it thankfully didn’t end in rape. Do the things you do in your teenage years define who you become? If people only equated my character worth to my drunken mistakes, where would that leave me? I’m in no way saying he should be excused for his actions, that is, if they are true. And the debate here is not whether they are true or not — because we may never know.

The only people that know the “truth” of that night are Ford, Kavanaugh and Judge. Human memories are not perfect tape recorders. Visual stimuli are perceived in a way that our brain fills in gaps for what we cannot always understand. There is probably flawed memory in all three accounts of the story, remembering details that may or may not have happened based on expectation. If you are a decent human being, you know sexual misconduct is wrong. A woman’s life can be destroyed by sexual assault; fear, humiliation, shame, self-hatred, depression and worthlessness can creep into her, leaving lasting trauma. But, in the cases when (if) a man is wrongly accused, sometimes we fail to recognize his life can be ruined too — forever labeled as a predator, something his two daughters have to carry with them. What strikes me is the timing of this information surfacing. Many Republicans interpret this allegation as an eleventh hour character slaughter to destroy his name and ruin his nomination. Unfortunately, Feinstein’s mistake in not immediately investigating this allegation helps support that claim. Ford was brave enough to come forward with her story — why wasn’t something done about it in July? Instead, it’s the weekend before his nomination is expected to pass. When politicians withhold allegations like this, it also allows suspicion to rise, discrediting real issues and making a mockery of victims; it’s turned into a forum for sheer bloodsport — and as a result, the gravity of sexual assault isn’t taken seriously.