“Children for Others” a Response to the Kavanaugh Hearings

When I watched Dr. Christine Ford’s heart-wrenching testimony on the 27th, I opened the live stream with the intent to watch a just few minutes of her speaking. I erroneously thought that after a brief observation, I would be able to form an opinion and get on with my life. That day, I watched hours of live footage. I was riveted by Dr. Ford’s composure, her bravery, and her resilience. As she stared down a panel of 11 white republican men who one-by-one deferred to a woman they hired to ask their questions for them, my heart went out to her. 


            As she said that she was “one hundred percent” certain that it was Brett Kavanaugh that assaulted her in the summer of 1982, I believed her.


            I still believe her.


            You see, I went to a single-sex DC catholic private school. I sat in a classroom as we read a bible that told me and my peers, 15-year-old girls like Dr. Ford once was, that Eve was made from the rib of Adam. We were taught that sex is a ruining thing, that our bodies exist to eventually be a gift for our husbands. It takes no reach of the imagination to see Dr. Ford in a classroom very much like mine. I knew girls like her. I was a girl like her.


            Almost immediately when Kavanaugh sits to give his testimony he defends the person he was in high school. He paints himself as an all-American teenager who enjoyed beers and football and had female friends. He says that his education in an all-boys Jesuit Catholic school taught him to be a “Child for Others.” The thing is, though, just as I knew girls like Dr. Ford, I also knew boys like Brett Kavanaugh, albeit a couple of generations removed. I spent my entire high school experience avoidingboys like Brett Kavanaugh. 


            At an all-girls school, we are taught through experience that we can succeed without men. Looking around at my high school classmates I see over a hundred brilliant women who aim to make the world a more equal place. I see women whose shared experience has made us sisters. 


            I start to think, ‘If Kavanaugh’s high school experience was anything like mine’—but it couldn’t have been anything like mine. I was surrounded by girls ready to challenge the system. Kavanaugh was surrounded by boys whose place in the system was already picked out for them. Unfortunately, privileged boys too often become entitled men. 


            That’s the word I would use to describe Kavanaugh. “Entitled.” Entitled to the best education, entitledto an immediate hearing, entitled to sit for life on the highest court in the land. It is no reach to think a man like that could feel entitled to a girl’s body. 


            Kavanaugh was taught like I was that woman was created from the rib of man, created to be a companion. To be always in relation to him, always of some use to him. When Kavanaugh looked around at his graduating class, he didn’t see people who would challenge any system. He saw people that would never need to. He saw his peers, the ‘best of the best,’ no woman among them.


            Kavanaugh finished his opening statement with a plea to the senators before him, and to our country. He asks for the same treatment that is so often appealed for on the victim’s behalf: ‘What if it were your sister? Your daughter? Your mother?’


            Brett requests, “I ask you to judge me by the standard that you would want applied to your father, your husband, your brother or your son.” 


            By flipping the gendered language, he expects to flip the narrative as well, painting himself as the victim. He should know, before his indignant rage at the delay in receiving something he is entitledgets too big for his head and it explodes; he should know that people like me do not have any mercy for people like him.


            My brothers went to a school that shares a lot in common with Georgetown Prep; a prestigious, all-boys Jesuit school in Washington, DC. They too were told to be children for others. I love my brothers, and I trust them. 


            But if a woman said to me what Dr. Ford has said to our country, with that same degree of integrity, bravery, and honesty that I saw in her; if a woman said to me that my brother did to her what Kavanaugh did to Ford, I would say the same to him that I’ll now say to Brett Kavanaugh. 


            You are not welcome at my table.


            You are not worthy of my court.


            You should be ashamed.