Where Do We Go from Here?

Content warning: mentions of sexual assault

I was in preschool the first time I heard the phrase: "it's because he likes you." It was repeated by impatient elementary school teachers and lighthearted mothers. It was the reason the one boy in overalls would push me and why the boy with the snotty nose would leave scribbled drawings in my cubby. It's a phrase mothers tell their daughters, as their mothers told them. It’s because he likes you. A phrase rooted in the conceptual ideals of internalized misogyny that has been passed down inadvertently to myself and so many of my peers. One that reaffirms the notion that "boys will be boys," a dangerous belief, so coveted and protected in American culture it borders on sacrilegious to oppose it.

On Saturday, October 6, 2018, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the most powerful judiciary position in the United States of America, despite allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. On Saturday, October 6, the American political system failed women.

One summer night, 36 years ago, a drunk, teenaged Kavanaugh pinned a young girl to a bed and tried to undress her against her will. He put his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming and drunkenly fumbled with her clothes, while another boy looked on. She managed to escape, run down the stairs and leave the house. She kept the story to herself for decades. She was fifteen and didn’t want to upset her parents. Her name was Christine. And 36 years later, on September 27, 2018, she told her story to the nation.

The testimony of Christine Blasey Ford is not only historic but heroic. It acts a warning to all boys, that their youthful violence can and will follow them for the rest of their lives. It is an extended hand to all survivors, an appeal to share the stories that have been silenced for years, even decades. It is a promise that those stories will not fall upon deaf ears, despite the blatant disregard of the American political system. A promise that millions of women are watching, and that women will remember.

Image Source: Rosemary Ketchum

Where do we go from here?

The nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh has forced myself and millions of other women across the country to speak out. There are stories that are now being shared after decades of silent, back-breaking strength. There are stories, still, that will never be told. My best friend called me the other day, the day of the confirmation. “Wouldn’t it be funny,” she asked, “if all men knew the stories their daughters would never share? Would they still live a lie?”

There are certain codes that we know. Simple daily steps that are taken to prevent the worst from happening. Special survival instincts that are woven into our DNA. 

Nature versus nurture. Never let your guard down.

Where do we go from here?

Saying “I have daughters” or “I have a wife” or “I have many female friends” is no excuse. Having black friends is not an excuse to being racist, just as fathering daughters will never erase your violent past.

We are on a precipice. Our collective actions will determine the extent of potential repercussions for the future of this country. Action must be taken. Register to vote and use your democratic right to voice your opinion. Our quality of life and the future of our world depends on it.

Editor's Note: The last day to register to vote in California is October 22nd.