About Feminism, No. 2

Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court may have happened weeks ago, but it is still relevant today — especially so on Election Day. Let’s talk about what that means, why we should be upset about it, and what we can do by getting out today and voting.

One night in 1982, Brett Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, locked Dr. Blasey Ford into a bedroom at a party and attempted to rape her. Regardless of what victim-deniers would like for you to believe, there is no question as to whether or not this happened. This is not a false accusation, no matter how many people (read: old, white men) try to say make you believe. They’ll tell you it’s too late, it’s been too many years. Do not listen to them.

In the United States, sexual assault survivors have two options:

  1. Go to the doctor directly after the occurrence. You can go to the police. But, chances are, your rape kit is going to be thrown out and the police aren’t going to take you seriously. Rape kits are thrown out for two reasons. The evidence is either sent to the crime lab where it is not tested, or it was just never sent to the crime lab. This could be because these tests are not requested in court, and thus they are just tossed aside. Sometimes, this is also because there are simply too many rape kits, and the staff gets behind, which is also a very terrifying thought. So on top of being physically and mentally wounded, you’re now being mocked by people in power who you, for some reason, believed would take you seriously.
  2. You bottle it up. You push the memories down so far in your head because you don’t want to believe it and you don’t want to have to deal with it — because you know what happens when people come forward. You know how this country treats sexual assault cases. You don’t want to have to deal with that. So you don’t tell anyone. Some thirty years later, your assailant is nominated to the Supreme Court. A job where he would be able to rule on future sexual assault cases. Understandably, this pisses you off. Why wouldn’t it? So you come forward. For the next month your story is picked and pulled completely apart. You have to recount memories you never wanted to think about again. And after all of this, after this entire struggle, your assailant is instead confirmed to the Supreme Court, and you, having your life dissected and destroyed, wish you never said anything to begin with.

Which choice is better? In all honesty, both of these are horrible options. The way that our country treats sexual assault victims is terrible. We are silenced and ignored. And even with significant evidence, our cases can be thrown out the window for countless reasons. The people of our country have questioned frequently why it matters now. Why did Dr. Blasey Ford come forward now? Why do people step forward so late in life when the event happened so long ago? The answer is so easy to grasp and I’m honestly shocked that more people don’t understand.

Think about it: if you had been sexually assaulted, and then you saw that your assailant was about to be appointed into some position of great power — power that could potentially equip him with the flexibility to do this to countless others — wouldn’t you step forward and say something? Or maybe one other person was brave enough to step forward; wouldn’t that encourage you to come out and say something as well? To support them and legitimize their story and your own? We see this so often: one person will admit their truth, and many will follow. It’s hard. It’s hard to talk about the events that plague our pasts. But when one person comes forward, when one person shows that it’s okay to talk about these things, it has an avalanche effect. Sexual assault survivors feel alone and isolated long after their attacks. We hide in our shells because we think no one else knows what this feels like. We fall into depression because we are silenced, and we don’t think it’s even okay to open our mouths and talk about these topics because of the way our patriarchal judicial system has historically handled them and because of the way assailants have for so long been able to silence women. But the more people who step forward, the more people who are brave enough to face the system, to come out and say something, the more people will be willing to come forward sooner.

When the country treats Dr. Blasey Ford the way they did through and have since this entire ordeal, the chances that other people are going to step forward only decreases. What Dr. Blasey Ford went through, none of us want to have to deal with. Because these trials, these hearings, they pick apart details and doubt the things we know to be true. They make the survivor recount and remember one of the most terrible moments of their life— if not the most terrible. Why would anyone want to do that? Especially after seeing how Dr. Blasey Ford was treated.

So, back to Brett Kavanaugh. Sorry, Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh (gag me). As a country, we have placed a sexual assailant into a position of high power. The Supreme Court has ruled over many sexual assault cases, and will rule on many more in the future, unfortunately. With Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court — someone who yelled at Dr. Blasey Ford and dismissed her valid claims — a sexual assailant will take part in the final say on huge sexual assault cases that could come out in the future. During his hearing, the senators listened to Dr. Blasey Ford tell her story. They knew that she was telling the truth. They had to have known. They just didn’t care. Knowing what Kavanaugh had done, they confirmed him anyway.

This is not only a problem of just Brett Kavanaugh, but of the people who confirmed him in to the Supreme Court. And we all know (hopefully) that voting is important. There are thirty-three senate seats up for vote today, November 6th. If there’s a change you want to make, if you are unhappy with Kavanaugh’s confirmation, you need to get out and vote today. Because, yes, Kavanaugh is a terrible human being who never should have been nominated to the Supreme Court in the first place. But our Senators, people we elected, are the ones responsible for confirming him. And, if we want to change something, removing those people is the place to start.

In November of this year, thirty three senate seats are up for vote. Ted Cruz is one of those seats. He has been a strong supporter of Kavanaugh through all of this and has even gone as far to say, “By any measure, Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most respected federal judges in the country.” Is this really the kind of person you want representing your state? Someone who supports a sexual assailant?

I have been told not to get angry. I have been told to make my Facebook profile picture black in silent respect of all the women who have had to deal with sexual assault. And to that I say, “No fucking way.” I will get angry, and I will remain angry until something is done about the way this country views sexual assault. I will write and I will vote and I will convince my friends to vote. If you don’t get out there and vote for what you think is right, you don’t care about your fellow people in your country.

Being from Maine, I’m familiar with Susan Collins. I’ve actually met her a countless number of times. Back when I didn’t know much about politics and I didn’t know what ‘Republican’ even meant, I looked up to her. Maybe this was because I was happy to see a woman senator in my own state. It is only now that I realize she is not one to look up to. Now, she is not alone solely responsible for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. She was one of the important votes that could have swung it to the other side. But she chose to vote yes. And in doing this, she devastated not only the women in Maine, but throughout the entire country. That little girl that looked up to her all those years ago is gone. Now there is only me, a woman who is nothing but disappointed. I will forever be disappointed in any woman who refuses to stand up for her gender. So, to Susan Collins, I must say that I can’t believe you did this. And to all the other women who voted yes for Kavanaugh, how could you? And to the men, I say the same. You have daughters and wives and friends, and we are more than just someone’s wife or someone’s daughter — we are someone. How could you do this to us?

In nominating Brett Kavanaugh and in confirming Brett Kavanaugh the Supreme Court has said to this entire country that women don’t matter. It doesn’t matter if that wasn’t what their intention was. In confirming a sexual assailant to the Supreme Court, they have effectively let all women know that we do not matter.

At least now we know for sure what kind of people lead us; and at least now — today — we can get inside a voting booth and take a stand to get these people the fuck out of office.

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