Who the hell do the 11 white men who are the Republican members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee think they are? Do they believe they are so all-powerful that they can ignore the desires of the American people, 38 percent of whom don’t support Brett Kavanaugh’s promotion to the Supreme Court in the first place? He is underwater with only 34% support. This makes him the most unpopular nominee to the high court in modern time. These dudes who are acting like gangsters on the Hill will have no one to blame but themselves if they lose the house and senate in the November midterm election and the White House in 2020.
I don’t know Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, but I believe everything she says about her attempted rape (Deborah Ramirez has just leveled another allegation. More may come by Thursday). I believe her because I am very close to women who have had the same or similar assaults happen to them. What happened is their story and they will have to tell it themselves. The way Blasey, Anita Hill, and countless others are treated, when they resolve to tell their stories, is one of the major reasons that rape (and other associated acts of sexual violence) go un or underreported. Survivors risk being called hateful venomous names (sluts or nuts), being cast as accusers, and even face death threats—injury on top of injury.
The research is clear: According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, one in six women are sexually assaulted each year. To many advocates this number is conservative. Women comprise 90% of all victims of sexual abuse. The highest risk years are the ages 12-34. Seventy percent of women who are abused do not even report their abuse. Sexual violence often leads to suicide, depression, problems at school and work, difficulty forming close, intimate, and lasting relationships, particularly with the opposite sex, among others.
As the entire nation watches, many are in disbelief of how the Republican Judiciary Committee members are treating professor Blasey (who they bullied into testifying this Thursday). Some view this circus of an atmosphere surrounding Kavanaugh’s confirmation as part and parcel of a toxic environment for women created by our president. Says Ahmad Greene-Hayes, “Donald Trump and his Republican henchmen are pushing anti-choice, misogynistic, sexist policies that are inherently tied to rape culture, control over women and girls’ bodies, and colonial and plantation nostalgia of Black women as reproducers of chattel.”
The Republican women in the Senate have shown a bit more sensitivity, but still both Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) seemed to be looking for a way to cast affirmative votes for Kavanaugh, whose problems extend beyond the probability that at one point he attempted to rape a minor.
Some say he would be the most conservative justice confirmed since Clarence Thomas. On the bench he would be a definite threat to overturning Roe v. Wade. And, according to his judicial rulings and writings, he would be hostile to affirmative action, consumer and environmental protection, and maintaining the balance of power between the executive and other branches of government. He definitely is not the centrist that Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee for whom the Republicans never granted a hearing, would have been. In a divided congress and country, wouldn’t the public interest be better served by a justice who falls closer to the center of the ideological spectrum?
Beyond Kavanaugh’s conservative credentials, I question his character. Why isn’t he speaking out on the need for fair play in the treatment of Dr. Blasey? To clear his name, why doesn’t he insist on transparency and fundamental fairness so that in the event he gets confirmed the people of America will have confidence in his credibility? Why doesn’t he volunteer to take a lie detector test? If winning for him by any means necessary is all that matters, he has already shown himself to be unworthy of occupying a seat on the nation’s highest court.
To the regret of many, Kavanaugh appears to be as narcissistic as the orange man who nominated him: Divide the country more; devastate a woman he probably already devastated decades ago; place one’s personal interest above that of the country’s. Sound familiar?
I have heard the president and other conservative men and women talk about how fine of a man Kavanaugh is. But fine men do bad things sometimes, especially after they have consumed too much liquor and not matured beyond the Animal House, frat-brat boy stage in life. Take for example, in the charge and allegations against Bill Cosby, should the fact that he gave millions of dollars to HBCUs, including Spelman and Morehouse colleges, carry weight amongst a jury deliberating his fate? I know your answer. [Cosby was just sentenced to serve 3-10 years in state penitentiary]
We live in a rape culture in this country and too many women and children fall victim to this terrible violence. It is time for the American people to demand that rape culture gets treated like the American epidemic that it is. It is time that men stop committing rape violence, like what the Republican Judiciary Committee members are doing in their horrific treatment of Dr. Blasey and the justice system does everyday across the nation to countless, nameless and faceless women.
We must start teaching young boys that the goal is not to “score” on a young woman, impregnate her and leave children for her or her family to raise, or violently lay hands on her body. Women must be respected, protected, and heard. When they say to us that they live daily in fear of rape, we must believe them.
Women are not an inferior gender. They are our mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, and partners. They deserve equal pay for equal work. They are not sex objects or lipstick dingbats. This is not a “man’s world” as the Godfather of Soul once sang.
Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii recently said it best, referring to her male congressional colleagues: “It’s time for men to shut up and step up.”