Women who publicly accuse powerful men of abuse are forced to make a gamble that no one ever should.
They risk being attacked once again, even before the facts of the case they are courageously highlighting are known.
Why now, people will ask? Why did you wait, they demand? Who are you and what makes you think anyone should believe you? Just what kind of person are you at all that this happened to you in the first place?
It's sobering. The attacks come from all sides too; from men and women, from political parties and vested interests. Power does not relinquish itself without a knockdown fight and real power will go to almost any lengths to protect itself. In fact, the last thing on many people's minds in these instances is usually justice.
We are seeing all that happen right now in the Brett Kavanaugh case. We are seeing people who have not even bothered to read the shocking details of Christine Blasey Ford's letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein detailing an event in which she accuses the Supreme Court nominee of sexual misconduct.
I think they should read the letter. It includes the following text: “Brett Kavanaugh physically and sexually assaulted me during high school in the early 1980's. He conducted these acts with the assistance of REDACTED. Both were one to two years older than me and students at a local private school. The assault occurred in a suburban Maryland area home at a gathering that included me and four others.
“Kavanaugh physically pushed me into a bedroom as I was headed for a bathroom up a short stairwell from the living room. They locked the door and played loud music precluding any successful attempt to yell for help.
“Kavanaugh was on top of me while laughing with REDACTED, who periodically jumped onto Kavanaugh. They both laughed as Kavanaugh tried to disrobe me in their highly inebriated state. With Kavanaugh's hand over my mouth, I feared he may inadvertently kill me. From across the room, a very drunken REDACTED said mixed words to Kavanaugh ranging from 'go for it' to 'stop.'"
If this is true, and let's reflect on just how dangerous it is to make a claim like this against a powerful man if it isn't, then Kavanaugh is not fit to sit on the nation's highest court, or indeed any.
Turning up the music to conceal Ford's cries for help was a premeditated act. Creating the conditions where a young woman literally feared for her life are inexcusable. No one with a wife, sister or daughter could think otherwise, could they?
Anyone who takes the trouble to read the letter will understand why Christine Blasey Ford wrote to Senator Feinstein and why she decided to speak out in opposition to his nomination.
More to the point, they should consider the sheer courage it took to write it at all, knowing what usually happens to women who speak up about the abuse committed by powerful men.
Men who abuse women, who manhandle them, who grab them as though they own them, who use dehumanizing language to describe them, who fear no repercussions from their abusive behavior toward them, usually do so in the knowledge that their power will always protect them. They are generally right to think so, too.
Donald Trump, the current President of the United States, has been accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment including non-consensual kissing or groping, by at least seventeen women since the 1980s.
There are audio recordings of several former Miss USA and Miss Teen USA contestants accusing Trump of entering their dressing rooms. Trump, who for years owned the Miss Universe franchise, was accused of going into the dressing rooms in 1997, 2000, 2001, and 2006, while contestants were all in various stages of undress. During a 2005 interview on The Howard Stern Show, Trump candidly admitted that he could “get away with things like that.”
He was right. He's in The White House now. The people who voted for him decided to look the other way because they like his politics. That's how power and money protect men from the consequences of their actions. It's the far less powerful women who make the accusations who can see themselves attacked, sued, sidelined.
Brett Kavanaugh talking about his high school in 2015: “What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep.”
I can't imagine any parent accepting this view. Is this really what America wants in its next Supreme Court Justice? pic.twitter.com/WhL8YeZQ78— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 18, 2018
During Trump's presidential campaign conservative commentators did what they are doing again for Kavanaugh: they asked why now? They worked to undermine his accuser's credibility. That same process has started up again.
That's also why in 2018 women are still so hesitant to report cases of sexual assault because they still fear the reprisals, they still fear that no one will believe them, they still see a low likelihood of obtaining justice against their assailant, and even the traumatic experience of having to be reminded of the original event is a factor.
So they have everything to lose and little to gain it seems. Every woman who has ever been victimized in this way and later saw their abuser escape justice feels re-victimized each time a story like this makes the headlines.
The only thing they ever seem have on their sides is perhaps the loneliest thing of all in this compromised and compromising world: the truth. That's why I believe her.
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments section, below.