In light of the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing this week, I felt it only right to share my thoughts, as well as the thoughts of a friend of mine. The following words are not up for discussion. I will not engage in online argument on this topic. Assault is wrong and I will never change my position on that.
I sat in most of my classes for the past two days, watching the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing with subtitles, because to me, that was more important than listening to lectures. I sat in classes crying as I watched person after person verbally attack Dr. Christine Ford. I watched as they belittled her and addressed her as Ms. Ford, when she has earned herself a PhD. She is Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and she should be addressed as such. I watched her speak with a voice, both shaking with fear and filled with bravery. I watched a broken woman be silenced as she tried to use her voice. My heart broke watching the hearing. My heart is still breaking and I am still angry. Dr. Christine Ford sacrificed so much to speak out not only for herself, but for women everywhere. She is courageous and bold.
Most women can remember a time when they were sexually harassed, even if it was just verbally. Most women can think of that “one time” when they could’ve been or almost were sexually assaulted. Some women can remember the time they WERE sexually assaulted.
I could’ve been sexually assaulted that one time.
It almost happened.
I was lucky.
I am beyond grateful that nothing more than an attempt happened to me. I didn’t get away because I was smart or did something right. I got away because I was LUCKY. So many people are not lucky. My body shakes when I use my voice to retell what happened to me that one time. But, small as it may be, what DID happen to me should be believed. What happened to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford should be believed. Survivors should be believed, no matter how small or large the assault. When the #MeToo movement began, I remember posting about it and being told that if I hadn’t been actually raped, I shouldn’t use that hashtag. But, any level or form of sexual assault is valid. Every person’s voice should be heard. Survivors should be listened to and believed. I can't even imagine the pain that comes from experiencing sexual assault. I only had an unpleasant taste of it. Survivors don’t enjoy talking about their experiences. Dr. Ford said it beautifully when she said, “I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”
This hearing not only angered me because a survivor was not believed or respected, but because this happens all the time. The President of the United States has been, on multiple occasions, accused of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. Yet, these women have been ignored and he is still in a position of leadership. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was not listened to, and now Brett Kavanaugh is closer to a leadership position. A professor at my university made horrific comments and sexually harassed women, yet he still teaches classes on this campus, a position of leadership. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you sexually harass or assault women, you should not be in any position of leadership or authority.
My friend Tori made some comments on the events of this week in her blog post entitled “When will our pain be enough for you?” that I feel are extremely valuable. She said the following,
As a survivor of sexual assault, these words cut me to my core, even though they aren’t directed at me. Comments like these, and the treatment of women like Dr. Ford, are the reasons I didn’t report. The reasons I kept silent. The reasons I carry that painful story inside of me and can’t let it go. The reasons my heart is constantly being re-broken all over again.
I encourage you to go read Tori’s entire blog post. Her voice is so valuable and beautiful. The words that fill the pages of her blog are filled with a beautiful anger at injustice and treatment of survivors. In her post, she says that Dr. Christine Ford is one of her heroes, and I can say the same, but Tori is also one of my heroes.
On a more political side of things, if you believe that putting this man, Brett Kavanaugh, on the Supreme Court for the rest of his lifetime is a bad decision, I beg you to make noise. Senator Kamala Harris started a petition against the nomination of Kavanaugh. Sign it. Make noise. Use your voices.
Finally, this video re-posted by World Relief this week is both empowering and beautiful. My favorite line says, "We dance and fight for justice until every woman is free."
*None of the photos/artwork above are mine.