by Nabhanya Morarji
Cases of sexual assault are difficult to talk about in any situation, but imagine having to do it in front of the entire nation –– and a room full of republican men. This is the situation that Christine Blasey Ford found herself in on Sept. 27. Ford accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, claiming that she was assaulted by him in the ‘80s at a party, when both were in high school.
After Ford accepted the invitation to share her story in front of the judiciary committee, two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, as well as another anonymous accuser, have also come forward with similar allegations against Kavanaugh. Ramirez has accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her while he was intoxicated at a party they both attended at Yale. Swetnick tragically recalled times when Kavanaugh and his close friend Mark Judge would spike girls’ drinks in the ‘90s to lower their inhibitions in order to rape them, multiple times, by multiple people.
Unfortunately, cases such as these are not uncommon. However, the amount of backlash that all three women have faced is heartbreaking. Donald Trump, as usual, took to Twitter to vocalize his support for his nominee, Kavanaugh.
“Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him,” Trump tweeted. “His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!”
I can’t say that this came as a surprise to me, but reducing Ford’s accusation to a “total sham” was shocking because of how disrespectful it is to not only Ford, but to women all over the country.
The manner in which Ford’s case has been handled is appalling because the senate seems more concerned about Kavanaugh’s nomination being confirmed, rather than justice being served. Kavanaugh, who claims that he is innocent, has asked for a fair trial. However, a trial cannot be fair without an investigation, which has not happened yet due to the republicans urging a vote, instead of delaying it to find out the truth.
More importantly, the message that this sends across to the country is that the justice system is not working as it should. By criticizing Ford’s claims and attacking her for coming forward with this three decades later, we are telling women that they their voices will not be heard unless they speak sooner. The fact that these incidents bring immense trauma is ignored and disregarded as people continue to question the accuracy of these claims – but the truth is that this is not something that is easily forgotten.
Time and time again, women all over the country are reminded that the system does not stand with them. It stands with the Brock Turners and Brett Kavanaughs of the world. Not everyone with power deserves to be powerful. That being said, due to the lack of evidence and corroboration, it is difficult to determine whether or not Kavanaugh is innocent. Therefore, at this point in time, it is safe to say that either one could be right––but by avoiding an investigation, the justice system is failing to do right by both Ford and Kavanaugh.
It is time to put an end to victim blaming and to stop questioning women when they finally decide to tell their stories. It is time to stop silencing women, and it is time to ask for justice.
Nabhanya Morarji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org