The privileged and powerful resent dissent. They will muster their considerable forces to stamp out any threat to their position. Thus, we have the concerted attacks on Christine Blasey Ford for accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempted rape when she was 15. As last week ended, she had agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. During the interim, she has been subjected to constant attacks from those comfortable with perpetuating misogyny.
Nationally syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts summed up the situation: “Here, then, is where we stand: After supporting senatorial candidate Roy Moore (a credibly accused child molester) Donald Trump (a confessed perpetrator of sexual assault) has nominated to the Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh (a credibly accused attempted rapist) who would, if confirmed, serve alongside Clarence Thomas (a credibly accused sexual harasser). It’s a confluence of facts that speaks painfully and pointedly to just how unseriously America takes men’s predations against women.”
How unserious are we?
Rev. Franklin Graham told CBN: “It’s just a shame … that somebody can bring something up that he did when he was a teenager close to forty years ago … that’s not relevant…. Regardless if it was true, these are two teenagers and she said no and he respected that, so I don’t know what the issue is.”
Except, as Snopes pointed out Friday, “Ford said that she escaped the alleged assault not because Kavanaugh ‘walked away,’ but because (Kavanaugh’s co-attacker Mark) Judge ‘jumped’ on top of her and Kavanaugh, inadvertently providing her with the opportunity to get away from both of them and flee to a bathroom across the hall.”
No sympathy from the irreligious right? Don’t count on Republican women. Saturday the Huffington Post reported “Former Florida GOP congressional candidate Gina Sosa has completely dismissed a sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. ‘We’re talking about a 17-year-old boy in high school, with testosterone running high,’ Sosa told CNN. ‘Tell me, what boy hasn’t done this in high school? Please, I would like to know.’”
I can assure Ms. Sosa that I didn’t try to rape any of my classmates. Nor did any of my pals mention such actions. I spent some of my youth in athletic locker rooms. I can recall exactly one story about inappropriate sexual behavior. My sister adds another about a high schooler hitting his girlfriend. Of course, our Twitterer-in-Chief had to chirp: “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.” Sexual predators count on the silence of their victims. The Accused-Predator-in-Chief’s remarks sparked immediate outrage.
Liz Lane of NBC News consolidated the responses: “Several women shared incidents they said happened when they were young children, saying they didn’t know what had happened to them at the time. Others said they felt ashamed or embarrassed about their role in the situation, thinking they ‘asked for’ the assault or didn’t do enough to stop it themselves. Others described feeling powerless against their attacker, saying they felt they had no one to report the assault to, that those they did tell didn’t do anything or that they would suffer further harm if they spoke out…. One of those victims was Alyssa Milano, “’I was sexually assaulted twice. Once when I was a teenager. I never filed a police report and it took me 30 years to tell [my] parents,’ the actress wrote on Twitter….”
Ashley Judd also tweeted her own #WhyIDidntReport. “’The first time it happened, I was 7. I told the first adults I came upon. They said “Oh, he’s a nice old man, that’s not what he meant.” So when I was raped at 15, I only told my diary. When an adult read it, she accused me of having sex with an adult man, ’Judd wrote.” The facts back up the actresses.
Lane’s report includes, “The Bureau of Justice Statistics also reports that a majority of rapes and other sexual assaults aren’t reported to police. Between 2006 and 2010, an average of about 211,200 rapes and sexual assaults went unreported each year. But even if a victim does report their assault, the likelihood that the perpetrator will be held accountable is slim, according to (the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network). Out of every 1,000 rapes, only 57 cases lead to an arrest and 11 cases will be referred to prosecutors. Only seven cases will lead to a felony conviction.”
As the week began, more than 700,000 women had posted #WhyIDidntReport accounts. Oklahoma currently has more than 7,000 rape kits untested for the rapist’s DNA.
Mark Sumner writes for the Daily Kos: ”And, as Pitts reminds us, Christine Blasey Ford didn’t want this. She understood, and understands, the damage that speaking up will do to her life, as well as her friends and family. Donald Trump believes that if he gets Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, that’s a win. Blasey Ford knows that there is no win here. Not for her. No matter what the outcome. She tried to handle this anonymously. Then quietly. But neither of those things was allowed. And now she had to deal with one of the worst events of her life again, in public and in front of hostile questioners who aren’t just judging the truth of her words, but looking for any excuse to invalidate her statements and experience and worth.”
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party.)