Christine Blasey Ford addressed the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday to deliver her testimony of sexual assault allegations she made against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee.
Republicans have, surely, noticed the widespread effect of the “#MeToo” movement and its capability to disgrace the societal status of powerful men who have been found guilty of sexual assault. Ford’s credible testimony may end up impeding the Republican effort to create a conservative-leaning majority in the Supreme Court. This means Republicans are attempting to reverse the effects of “#MeToo” while attempting to discredit the courageous testimony made by Ford.
Ford alleged that during a 1982 house party in Maryland, Kavanaugh and conservative writer Mark Judge, attempted to rape her. She states how Kavanaugh, specifically, grinded his body against hers, attempting to undress her while holding his hand over her mouth.
During Kavanaugh’s testimony, the Supreme Court nominee attempted to render himself as a champion for the advancement of women in political circles. Furthermore, he listed names of women who he has remained friends with since high school and ultimately denied all sexual assault allegations made against him in an attempt to clear his name as a sexist, misogynist or sexual assailant.
These hearings have allowed Republicans, a majority of the current administration, to show their true, victim-shaming colors. Once again we hear rhetoric from conservative men who are completely defending the abusers’ reputation while framing the victim, who in this case has a background as a professor at Stanford and Palo Alto University, as a total liar.
The Republican effort to place abusive men whose political-ideology aligns with theirs in power is relentless. We saw these efforts during Donald Trump’s ascent to presidency and now with Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.
“My life is totally, and permanently, altered,” Kavanaugh said during the hearing. The nominee frequently claimed, in a victimized manner, that he has been accused of a crime that would haunt him for the rest of his days and one that would, unequivocally, ruin his reputation.
During the hearing, Republican senators often stopped asking questions altogether to speak out in Kavanaugh’s favor. “You have interacted with professional women all your life — not one accusation,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham affirmed in Kavanaugh’s favor. “It’s been my understanding that if you drug women and rape them for two years in high school, you probably don’t stop.”
It takes an abrupt amount of fearlessness to come forward and share one’s story of sexual assault. In fact, according to a report by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, only 310 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to police. Moreover, out of every 1000 rapes, only 57 lead to arrest while a mere six rapists will be incarcerated.
Women are often reprimanded for not reporting cases of sexual assault or rape soon enough. Yet, when many of them do come forward with these allegations, they are painted as liars attempting to bring down a man’s reputation. This kind of backward ideology is not only rampant within our misogynistic society — it’s ingrained in our nation’s history.
The #MeToo movement has created powerful ripples throughout our society in how sexual misconduct claims are heard and approached. Yet, I am convinced that the current administration — whose very leader, President Trump, has also been accused of sexual assault — is working relentlessly to reverse the effects of the movement.
After all, the very foundation of American conservatism is to conserve many of the ideologies that were present in the nation’s founding which, for example, include keeping wealthy, straight, white men in power and protecting their reputations and careers to an inordinate extent.
Ford provided a fearless account of the traumatic event involving Kavanaugh and Judge. It’s daunting to realize that the only punishment Kavanaugh will expect, if found guilty, is to not be exalted to the nation’s highest court. He may walk away, perhaps not as a Supreme Court justice, but still as a free man. This is the kind of societal norm that we as a nation should not accept. We shouldn’t accept living in a country where rapists and sexual assailants aren’t held accountable for their crimes.
It’s time to believe credible assault and rape accusations made by women. #MeToo should not become a mere blip of justice in our country’s historical timeline, but should serve as a solidified foundation in the pursuit of trusting sexual assault victims and bringing the assailants to justice.