FOR THE QC
Content Warning: This piece contains descriptions of sexual assault.
When I first wrote about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for the Quaker Campus, it was out of a need to inform people about the real fear I had for what he could do if given power. I was writing based off of what could be; now I am writing out of what is. I am afraid of the way that Kavanaugh has unquestionably treated women when he was in positions of power over them. Two women have accused him of sexual misconduct and assault during their late teen/early adult years, and Republicans still want to appoint him to the Supreme Court.
In a perfect world, if Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came out to the public — with notes from a therapist dated from 2012 that documented a case of a sexual assault from when she was fifteen and mentioned the assault she has accused Kavanaugh of within the documents — it would be seen as sufficient enough evidence to postpone the confirmation hearings and instead begin an investigation into the matter. In a perfect world, when Dr. Ford asked for an FBI investigation into her claims, she would be treated with respect and dignity from both sides. Instead, Dr. Ford was effectively in hiding after the public forced her to reveal her identity and then promptly began threatening the safety of her and her family. Dr. Ford has passed every test we make victims of abuse take after they tell us they have been abused. She has taken a polygraph test and passed. She has multiple documents dating all the way back to 2012 that mention the assault and its effect on her even all these years later.
At 17 years old, Kavanaugh drunkenly pinned Dr. Ford to a bed and tried to remove her clothing as his friend watched and commented from the sidelines. Ford escaped. She could be considered lucky, but now deals with the effects of her assault. She lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of this experience, and even now we question, aggravate, and berate her.
Senator Lindsey Graham has openly stated that he isn’t “going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over [these sexual assault allegations],” and though he feels Kavanaugh’s accusers have a right to be heard, he won’t change his mind about Kavanaugh. The Republican Party wants you to think that they have been kind by giving Dr. Ford an opportunity to testify, and yet they have bullied her at every corner. They refuse to launch an FBI investigation, which she requested in exchange for her testimonial. They gave her an ultimatum to either testify by Sept. 24 and have her story heard officially, or not at all. Dr. Ford has agreed to testify without an FBI investigation this Thursday.
Dr. Ford lives in California, and make no mistake, this was a power tactic to make her look like the bad guy when she did not appear to state her case in Washington D.C. on Monday. The Republican Party does not want her to share her story because they do not want to have to put on their show where they pretend to care and play at etiquette.
Dr. Ford has done everything right by the public standards, yet she is still being threatened and treated like a criminal. Deborah Ramirez, Kavanaugh’s second accuser, has more chinks in her armor. At age 18, a legal adult, Kavanaugh and his friends targeted a girl in a freshman dorm room party. The game was simple — you pick someone else to drink. One girl got so drunk she was barely conscious and sprawled out on the floor. This girl was Ramirez. She was a religious girl with a conservative history, and was away from home for the first time. She thought she was at a party with like-minded individuals who wanted to have a fun time, and had no reason to suspect that they would deliberately trick her into drinking more than them. How could she have known that, once she was sprawled out on the floor, Kavanaugh would pull his pants down and shove his genitals in her face while his friends told her to kiss them?
I am worried about what the public will do to Ramirez for telling the truth. She has openly admitted to hestitance about sharing her story because of the gaps in her memory, but she has classmates who were able to corroborate her side of events and others willing to admit that though they do not know for a fact what happened, it would not be out of character for a college-age Kavanaugh to behave in such a way. He was known to become very aggressive and loud when he drank, and two of his classmates who had previously signed a letter attesting to Kavanaugh’s character later asked to have their names removed after more details of the story were made public.
What I think as I watch this play out is that Republicans have learned little from the Anita Hill hearings and the scandal that followed. They know they cannot treat women as poorly as they want to, but they are really bad at hiding it. Our nation is run by white men who have never had to work a day in their lives, and who want to continue to live luxuriously because they feel like they somehow earned it. These men have all the power in the country for many different reasons and they have continued to consolidate it in ways that skirts the constitutional legality. We need an overhaul of the system and of society.
Dr. Ford and Ramirez deserve to be treated with respect. Hill deserved respect during her hearings in the 90s. Our government has already made up its mind about how it feels about placing rapists in positions of high power, so it is time we change our minds about who is representing us in the government. After Hill gave her testimony on sexual assault, more women were elected to office that year than any other year. I do not think Republicans want Dr. Ford to testify because they are afraid of what she has to say, and I, for one, want to hear it.