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Kavanaugh Accused of Sexual Assault

For those of you who don’t keep up with politics, Brett Kavanaugh is President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. With Anthony Kennedy’s departure from the Court, Kavanaugh’s approval could secure a conservative edge for years to come.

In a shocking turn of events, Christine Blasey Ford came forward with sexual assault allegations against the nominee in the midst of his confirmation hearings. A Washington post article outlines her claims:

 “Ford has alleged that Kavanaugh pinned her down and clumsily groped her during a prep school party when Ford, 15, was a sophomore and Kavanaugh, 17, a junior. Now 51, Ford, a research psychologist, told The Post, ‘I thought he might inadvertently kill me.’”

The variation in viewpoints on this issue is immense, and arguments for and against Kavanaugh’s confirmation are outlined below.

In Kavanaugh’s Defense: 

  • Acknowledging that the alleged event took place 35 years ago, American Conservative journalist Rob Dreher tweeted, “I do not understand why the loutish drunken behavior of a 17-year-old high school boy has anything to tell us about the character of a 53-year-old judge.” Many people stand behind this “he was only a boy when this occurred” sentiment.
  • Many are questioning Ford’s ability to accurately recall the alleged assault considering this supposedly occurred in high school. How could Kavanaugh be punished for an alleged assault when even the victim is unclear on exactly what happened?  
  • Kavanaugh himself has staunchly defended his character stating, “This is a completely false allegation…I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone. Because this never happened…” Mark Judge, a person who Dr. Ford claims was in the room during the alleged assault, claims to “have no memory of this alleged incident” and further says that he “never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes.”
  • Some have questioned the moral implications of ruining a man’s career over a potentially unsubstantiated claim

In opposition to Kavanaugh: 

  • Christine Blasey Ford is recorded, via her therapist’s notes, to have discussed this assault in 2012, years before Donald Trump had even began his run for presidency.
  • Ford passed a polygraph test, lending an air of authenticity to her allegations. While polygraph tests are not always accurate, many organizations (including the FBI) utilize these lie-detector tests.

From a psychological standpoint, the holes in Ford’s retelling of events are completely normal, considering trauma is frequently suppressed by one’s brain in an effort of “self-preservation.” Many scholarly articles focus on this act of suppression, such as this one from Science Magazine.

  • Many have questioned the moral implications of confirming a nominee accused of sexual assault. How does it reflect onto the American public if the public is to award the accused of such disturbing allegations? Furthermore, how does it reflect onto, and what does it mean for, the millions of women and men who have suffered these assaults and those who are brave enough to come forward?

On whichever side of this argument you may fall, it is important to stay up-to-date and educated on these events. I encourage everyone to do research and to form personal opinions based on said research—hopefully this summary can provide some background information.

Rachel Schmitz

Wake Forest '21

Born and raised in the sunshine state, Rachel is currently a Sophomore at Wake Forest University. She is planning on majoring in both biology and psychology, with a minor in neuroscience. When she isn't busy with school work (and sometimes even when she is), she loves to travel, hike, watch sports, pet dogs, and to feed her online shopping addiction.
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