Not, not the answer to life, the universe and everything.
That’s how many years it’s been since I was fifteen years old. October 2, 1976. My own personal #metoo moment, the details of which don’t need to be picked through here. I’ve written about it once before, a very short chapter in a very short book, with some of the specifics changed because the truth wouldn’t worm out of my brain and onto paper. The ugliness of it wouldn't come out.
It still won’t. And please don’t ask me to.
Right now, on a dozen TV stations I am not watching—because the stress of it is too much, because half a minute of it made me so anxious I wanted to punch the TV—a woman is baring her pain for the world to see. Christine Blasey Ford is sitting in front of a massive panel made up of mostly white men and she’s trying to get them to listen, and to take seriously something far too many women know won’t happen.
She doesn’t want to be there. Who would? But she’s stepping up and allowing the world a fleeting glimpse of her internal terror, because it’s that important.
I have zero faith in the people who should be taking seriously every word that comes out of her mouth. They don’t care. They’re perfectly willing to appoint to the Supreme Court of the United States a man with more than one accusation against him rather than risk waiting until after the elections this year. God forbid they have to go with a more moderate candidate later because of what might happen in the mid-term elections. They toss around terms like “he said/she said” and brush off the notion that it even matters. They denied Garland his due hearing when appointed by Obama because of pettiness, and are now frothing at the mouth because the man they want has a roadblock in front of him.
No, I don’t think they care.
This isn’t a case of hiring some sketchy twenty-year-old to handle inter-office mail delivery, someone who can easily be fired if it turns out he really does have some noisy skeletons in his closet. This is someone who will sit on the highest court in this country, with the ability to affect change for decades to come. Any accusation should be taken seriously. Anything remotely credible should be examined until there’s no doubt about the outcome. That seat is far too important to rush, far too important to place the wishes of one political party over the other.
Yes, a “he said/she said” incident, when it comes to a Supreme Court appointee, should be taken seriously. And it goes beyond that: one accusation could be construed as he said/she said. Two accusations is enough that those in charge should listen quite a bit more carefully. Three establishes a pattern of behavior that cannot be overlooked. And four? Holy hell.
Yes, there are four. And still, these people who supposedly have the best interests of the country at heart are willing to barrel over everything and rush to appoint their candidate, for no apparent reason other than they want to place party over country—something they damn well admitted to in the past—and care little about the truth.
They are willing to elevate a rapist to the Supreme Court of the United States rather than risk waiting for a more suitable, and possibly moderate, candidate.
Come on. Let that sink in. They are willing to appoint a rapist.
“But he hasn’t been found guilty of anything!” No, he hasn’t. That doesn’t change that the people who are rushing this through don’t care about the facts. They don’t care if he’s guilty or not. They care about appointing their choice to the seat rather than waiting for the facts. They’ll appoint him knowing there’s a good chance that he did, in fact, assault Dr. Ford when he was seventeen. He could admit to them behind closed doors that he did everything he’s accused of, and more, and they’ll still do everything they can to get him into that seat.
No, it doesn’t matter that Ford didn’t report it then. Don’t judge her for not having it in her to go through the ringer of judgment when she, too, was just a teenager. Don’t judge her for being terrified of having to shoulder the blame—something many of us understood far too well in our teen years, that the victim was almost always blamed for something over which they had zero control—and don’t brush it off as boys being boys.
Take a look at your sons. If you’re willing to brush off sexual assault as being no big deal, that it’s something boys just do, consider what you’re teaching them. Then take a look at your daughters, because they’re the ones at risk. Do you really think it’s okay for someone to molest, assault, rape, touch, or torment them for no reason other than “Well, you know, boys will be boys.”
Retire the tired tropes, the lame excuses, and the prejudice against the victims of assault.
Statistically, the number of false accusations in sexual assault cases are so low as to be negligible. Statistically, too, the number of convictions are so low as to be a reason why reporting an assault feels like a waste of time.
Statistically, when a woman levels a charge, you can be pretty sure she’s not lying.
There is literally nothing to be gained from accusing someone of sexual assault, and everything to be lost. When Dr. Ford came forward, she endured death threats serious enough that she had to leave her own home, and that’s not going to end when today’s hearing does. She offered up her safety and sanity and will not benefit from this at all.
Brett Kavanaugh, on the other hand, will get a pat on the back and an “atta boy” from people who believe he’s guilty of the charge, but don’t think that something he did as a teenager should matter. He’ll go on living his life, likely as a Supreme Court Justice.
You can’t possibly be okay with this.
No one should be okay with this.