Today is sworn testimony before Congress, Christine Blasey Ford told the assembled Senators that even though she was “terrified” about sharing her story in front of a national audience she felt that it was her “civic duty” to do so once she realized that Brett Kavanaugh was the final pick of President Trump for the Supreme Court nomination.
Since her bombshell allegations dropped, not one, not two, but three other women have come forward with their own stories about Kavanaugh’s disgusting behavior as a young man, with one woman saying that he was part of a crew of men who got girls drunk in attempts to gang rape them in high school. If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because of the cases that broke a few years back of groups of football players and other sports stars on teams across the country who basically did the same thing. The modus operandi is similar, throw a high school party, get girls super drunk, sometimes give them drugs, have sex with them when they are clearly in no position to consent, invite your friends, shame them on social media, and move on.
At the time when those other stories were breaking about Steubenville and all the other high school and college rapes the conversation was focused mostly on consent and when a woman can give it. For example, if a girl is passed out drunk, she is unable to give you her consent. If she can’t say yes, then that is a no. It seemed like a teachable moment, but I’m here to say that we got it all wrong.
This isn’t really about consent. It’s about fostering environments and a society where men and young boys can do whatever the hell they want and rarely face consequences for their actions no matter how appalling. The double standard is so blatantly obvious, it’s impossible to ignore. For example, in Kavanaugh’s Yearbook, there were multiple mentions of a young girl named Renate, who they painted as a shared conquest of no less than nine members of their Georgetown Prep school. Branded a slut, this woman has had to deal with the consequences of these boys actions even now by denying that she ever slept with them but also answering to media questions.
“I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago,” Ms. Dolphin said in a statement to The New York Times. “I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means. I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment.”
Yet Kavanaugh and his boys walked away scott-free after what seems to be years of complicity and involvement in the efforts to take advantage of the young women in their elite circles. And many more men expect the same to happen for them. It’s one of the reasons why I think men are so emotionally volatile when asked about the Me Too movement. They know they’ve participated in, encouraged, or sat idly by while horrible things have been done to women. And they thought they would always get away with it. Now, they’re scared. And they should be.
There seems to be an air of disbelief among the senators on the judiciary committee. They seem to think that there is NO WAY Kavanaugh could have gone through his whole life being the person he seems to really be without anyone speaking out prior to his confirmation hearing. I’d ask them to look no further than the President himself (who has been accused by 16 women of sexual assault and has never even had to submit to questioning) or Bill Cosby (who was found to be a serial rapist who operated under the radar for almost 40 years) to find examples of men who have consistently preyed upon, taken advantage of, and/or brutally attacked women and gone on to live high-profile lives without any consequence while their victims are left suffering in silence.
This does not mean that victims have to speak out when they are assaulted. There are a million reasons why a survivor might not press charges or tell anyone what happened to them for years. Least of which is the fact that even if they find the strength to face down their attacker in court, many times they are put on trial more than the actual rapist. We have a horrible tendency to not only victim-blame and slut-shame women in this country, but also to not trust them. Why would a woman voluntarily put herself through that spectacle after living through a horrible life experience? The truth is, I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t experienced sexual assault or who doesn’t know someone intimately who has. NOT A SINGLE ONE. That means that we can take the pressure off of the immediate victims of sexual assault by speaking up now and speak up ourselves for those who can’t for themselves.
The only way we are going to blow the lid off of this cancer in our society as women is to identify it as such and shine a light on it so bright it can not be swept away under a rug and ignored any more. We need men to do their jobs too. If you hear another man talking about being a scumbag, grabbing a women, getting a girl drunk so that he have his way with her etc. CALL THEM OUT. Only when we realize and accept the fact that this is common place can we really begin to cure it. It’s hard to admit that your brother, your friend, your father, uncle, cousin and sometimes even husband is guilty of this kind of disgusting behavior but the more we ignore it or forgive it because it’s been perpetrated by someone we love, the more we give it permission to exist.
Think of the generations of women coming after us, who will be at the mercy of these invisible monsters if we don’t speak up and speak out. Christine Blasey Ford is a patriot, and most importantly, a survivor who found the strength to look her monster in the face and call him exactly what he is, even though he has some of the most powerful friends in the world, and in spite of the fact that she knew it would compromise her life, her career, and her family. That is what a true hero looks like.