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SCOTUS nominee faces sexual assault allegations

by Courtney Deeren - Copy Editor
Tue, Oct 2nd 2018 10:00 pm
Christine Blasey Ford took the stand Sept. 27, to defend her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party both attended in high school.
Christine Blasey Ford took the stand Sept. 27, to defend her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party both attended in high school.
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By now, people are familiar with the name Brett Kavanaugh. Not only is he the most recent Supreme Court Justice nominee under the Trump administration, but he has become one of the most controversial nominees overall. The initial concern was over his policies and views regarding abortion, birth control and women’s reproductive health in general. But that wasn’t the last time his name made headlines. In early September, news broke of a potential sexual abuse allegation against Kavanaugh. 

On Thursday, Sept. 27, Christine Blasey Ford appeared in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to recount the incident she claims happened when she was a sophomore in high school. Ford opened with an emotionally gripping account of what happened and why she ultimately decided to come forward, a decision she clearly struggled with. 

The first person to speak in support of Ford was Mr. Whitehouse. The first few phrases he spoke were utterances of pride, as he commended her for her bravery in coming forward. He noted how this bravery was already starting to make changes for women, as many started coming forward about their own abuse. After watching one woman discuss her sexual assault in a televised senate hearing, it didn’t seem so hard. 

That’s not to take away the difficulty survivors of sexual assault face. One of the many questions raised by those in the hearings and in the general public, watching this hearing, is why it took Ford so long to release this information. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, nearly 63 percent of sexual assault goes unreported. 

The push back by so people many is a prime example of why many of these assaults go unreported. While Ford’s coming forward may have been encouraging to other survivors, the way members of the committee tore her apart and tried to discredit her could do more harm than good. 

Tempers ran high during this hearing, as shown by Senator Graham’s outburst while Kavanaugh was on the stand. During the video clip, which can be found on numerous news outlooks including politico, he called the whole thing a “sham” and said it was just to destroy Kavanaugh’s career. Graham, along with many of his colleagues, seemed to be in Kavanaugh’s corner, especially after his emotional address. 

Kavanaugh appeared upset and angry through many moments of the hearing. He even went so far as to call this hearing a “national disgrace” according to vox. Kavanaugh’s opening remark was a defensive mess, where he attempted to paint himself as the victim. He attacked democrats stating that they opened his family to attacks and harassment. Kavanaugh, along with his supporters, felt that this was just a last ditch effort on behalf of democrats to prevent his confirmation. 

While it is definitely true that Democrats are concerned about Kavanaugh sitting on the supreme court for a lifetime sentence, it would be far stretched to say that a woman would go in front of a panel and call for an investigation on something that didn’t really happen, all in the name of delaying a confirmation for someone whose politics they don’t agree with. 

The reactions of many republicans has brought up some concerns. This should stand as a reminder that this isn’t about politics, this isn’t about republican versus democrat, this is about women’s safety and women's rights. 

This issue begs the question; why is it that when men come forward with allegations of sexual assault against catholic priests, some years after it occured no one questions it. But the moment a woman comes forward with similar allegations after 30 some years her credibility is automatically attacked. 

If nothing else, this case has brought about the transformation in the way we talk about sexual assault and rape. Many women have empathized with Ford, recalling their own assaults, and why they either never reported them, or waited so long to report them. 

Even though Kavanaugh provided proof through letters that other women he has worked with found him to be nothing but professional, his political policies regarding women may paint a different picture. 

Friday morning, the day of the decision on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, it was decided that the vote would be delayed by a week. This came after President Trump called for an FBI investigation. According to CNN, Trump said under the requests of the senate the investigation must be conducted in less than a week and have a narrow scope. 

Many will be anxiously awaiting the outcome of this investigation, and the ultimate decision on whether or not Kavanaugh will sit on the Supreme Court. 

People have taken to social media to debate this topic. Some stand with Kavanaugh, while many stand with Ford. These conversations and debates can be found on almost all social media platforms. From big movements, like the #metoo movement, to celebrities and feminist icons, there aren’t many places you can find where this discussion isn’t happening. 

People have been sharing messgaes of support as well as memes victim shaming Ford since these allegations came out. Much of the victim shaming comes in the form of photos of women drinking at parties and wearing revealing clothing. It brings about a bigger question; how should we, as a country, tackle the subject of sexual assault. What can we do as a society to change the way women are portrayed in these situations?