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The Seattle Collegian

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January 23, 2020

Photo Credit: Associated Press - Mark Lennihan

Personal Annihilation: Being a Woman Post-Kavanaugh

If I’m being brutally honest, upon hearing that Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court was accused of rape, and not only was the attack well documented, but that there were multiple other attacks and witnesses who were coming forward, I can’t say I was really surprised. Don’t confuse my lack of surprise for indifference. It’s just that after seeing so many of these accusations amount to nothing, I’ve just kind of accepted that, while technically a first world country, the US is perpetually stuck in the 40’s as the rest of the world progresses. (Which is a really shitty thing for a woman to have to accept as a part of life, by the way.) Ignorance, racism, and sexism are alive and well, in addition to a good old fashioned fear/hatred of anyone who isn’t a conservative white man. This is the America we live in today; an environment that has allowed a rapist to be confirmed for the Supreme Court; a rapist whose investigation was extremely limited because the president, who is also a documented sexual predator, would not allow for a more thorough investigation.

This is the America we live in today; an environment that has allowed a rapist to be confirmed for the Supreme Court…

High profile cases of sexual assault brought up many issues with the judicial system. Take, for example, the trial of Brock Turner, a college student and hopeful Olympian who was found sexually assaulting an unconscious college girl (and therefore obviously unable to consent). Two other men happened by and stopped the assault. It’s important to note that witnessing the event was so upsetting just for the witnesses that one of them cried as he described what he saw. Brock Turner’s father referred to the victim during the trial as “a piece of ass” and mentioned that Turner was getting punished for “twenty minutes of action”. And, in a nutshell, this is where we are; women who are sexually assaulted are dehumanized, ridiculed, blamed for the attack, and, in the case of Dr. Ford, mocked and sent death threats. Along with the normal shitty things that people who are raped have to deal with; PTSD, depression, becoming suicidal, fear of intimacy, the list goes on and on. When you really think about how long these effects of sexual assault last in comparison to the light punishments (if any) men who are accused of rape receive, I’m sorry but it’s just bullshit (I’m not really sorry, it’s just bullshit).

Which brings us to Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing. If you weren’t aware, Kavanaugh is Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court. A statement from Christine Ford in particular stood out to me; “Once he was selected and it seemed like he was popular and that it was a sure vote, I was calculating for me the risk benefit of coming forward and wondering whether I would just be jumping in front of a train that was headed to where it was headed anyway and that I would just be personally annihilated.” Dr. Ford was completely aware that coming forward and describing her assault would actually not accomplish anything, and despite the fear of flying, the backlash, the being torn apart publicly by politicians, and doing everything in her power to make everyone aware of who Kavanaugh really is, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn into the Supreme Court. Which is mind blowing because throughout all the questioning, Kavanaugh proved to be incapable of composing himself and answering direct questions about the assault; opting for the teary-eyed and pathetic ‘please feel sorry for me’ route.

Trump was a sexual predator when he was put in a position of power and is now protecting, or even rewarding, another sexual predator.

From Kavanaugh’s evasive answers about what a “Devil’s Triangle” is, to whether he’s been blackout drunk, or even just the obviously forced crying when recounting how his daughter wanted to pray for Dr. Ford, it’s apparent that Kavanaugh is not only not repentant about the attack but instead, for whatever reason, resents having to face consequences of his actions. The fact of the matter is that Trump, before he was elected, was accused of sexually assaulting multiple women, and was even recorded saying that he didn’t wait for them to give consent before he grabbed them by the pussy. Trump was a sexual predator when he was put in a position of power and is now protecting, or even rewarding, another sexual predator. This further emboldens rapists to no longer be held accountable for their actions, all while still blaming the woman for provoking the attack, for being too pretty, too naive, too drunk, too whatever. When asked if he thought Dr. Ford was credible, Senator Orrin Hatch said “It’s too early to say. I don’t think she’s uncredible. I think she’s an attractive, good witness. But, it’s way too early.” When asked what he meant by “very attractive”, he said, “In other words, she’s pleasing.” Incredible. A woman recounting the most traumatic event of her life, and she’s still subject to disgusting comments; not about what she’s accusing Kavanaugh of, but about how she looks.

Other politicians also had opinions about Dr. Ford as well. Although Trump initially called Dr. Ford a “very fine woman” and “credible”, he was quick to do a complete 180 (in only the way Trump does) and began mocking her responses to questions during the hearing, to a laughing and cheering crowd. (Although, let’s be honest; if they weren’t giving an enthusiastic response to this, it’s likely they were asked to leave.)  It’s apparent that Trump has no knowledge of how the human brain works, and very little experience with a working human brain, but it’s not completely unbelievable that someone who was attacked would have little to no memory of the incident. Fun fact: Being unable to recall the whole attack, or even significant details, is a common symptom of experiencing a traumatic event.

The responses to this, as demonstrated by Republican politicians, show several major problems in the US. I believe that, in our culture, or, more specifically, conservative Christian culture, women have grown up believing that their bodies belong to other men, their future husbands, or their boyfriends. The incel and red-pill culture have an air of entitlement to women’s bodies. (Along with many, many other toxic beliefs and behaviors.) Christians teach young girls to stay pure from an early age and that they should be careful how they present themselves. That their bodies belong to whoever they might marry and that they are personally responsible for the lust of the men around them. We see this even in non-Christian environments. Rape victims are asked what they were wearing and how they presented themselves, and anything they might have said that could be construed as even remotely sexual in a completely different circumstance is shown and passed around and used to rip apart her character and blame her for the attack.

It is obvious that white conservative men do not care about victims of rape because they are too busy trying to shift the blame away from the attackers.

I don’t think that anyone with any semblance of intelligence believes that Kavanaugh is innocent of what Dr. Ford is accusing him of. The reason that this whole debacle was so traumatic to any victims of sexual assault is because all of the victims, whether they reported the attack or not, either have the fear of, or have experienced, reporting the crime, and seeing nobody that cared that they were attacked. It is obvious that white conservative men do not care about victims of rape because they are too busy trying to shift the blame away from the attackers. Welcome to America 2018; women beware and vote, before you lose the rights for that, too.

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