A “mistake” at 17 should not ruin a life…

While awaiting the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, next week, the one thing to keep in mind is that if her story is deemed credible, Judge Kavanaugh’s fate should not be determined based solely on his alleged actions at age 17.  His fate should be determined based on his actions every day after the alleged attempted rape.  More on that, in a moment.

The initial #GOP defense for Judge Brett Kavanaugh centered around what seemed to be an unassailable denial that Kavanaugh was capable of assaulting Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when he was only 17 and she was 15.  The defense transitioned to one that suggested that even if the event had occurred, he was very young. Furthermore, the person he was, then, should have no bearing on who he is as a human being, now.  There has been an outpouring of sympathy, for Judge Kavanaugh, matched by a myriad of doubt, derision, and outright character assassination for Dr. Ford.  Ford is even faulted for not, at 15, taking on a system that has storied tradition of secondary victimization of  adult rape survivors who dare to step forward and name their attackers.  What hope would she have had?

Why didn’t Ford tell someone, more than three decades ago when the event allegedly took place?  I think the answer can be found in the numerous attempts by critics to unveil every detail of Dr. Ford’s life – while ignoring the unanswered questions about Judge Kavanaugh’s spending habits and outstanding debts, which are also relevant to any decision to grant him a lifetime appointment to the bench.

If less than a third of sexual assaults are reported, and less than 5% of perpetrators are convicted, what hope did a 15 year-old have at the time of the alleged, brutal, assault?  We understood even less about rape and rape survivors then than we do, now.

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I would strongly urge anyone reading this blog entry to make your way to RAINN to learn more about sexual assault and its impact on survivors of violence.  I strongly urge you to urge your member of congress to do the same.  I fear for Dr. Ford in her appearance before the Senate Judiciary committee, given the comments and excuses I have read regarding  Judge Kavanaugh’s presumed innocence, at best, and newly limited culpability, at worst.

Is he the same person who, at 17, is alleged to have engaged in such a brutal assault of a 15-year-old teenage girl?  Most likely not, but if he is guilty, he is the same man who  lived every day of his life without once apologizing to his victim or taking responsibility for that day.  If he is guilty, he allowed Dr. Ford to live every day of her life with self-doubt, fear, shame, anger, and a sense of loss that impacted her life to the point of needing support and care to try to recover from the event.  The #GOP is mounting it’s own “Brock Turner defense” in which Turner’s father commented that 20 minutes of action shouldn’t ruin his son’s entire life.

I think it is telling that the Good Ole’ Privilege party views the event from the perspective of the alleged perpetrator and not the alleged victim.  If guilty, Judge Kavanaugh has seemingly moved on and, to our knowledge, has not sought help for any guilt or despair associated with attacking another person.  Dr. Ford has lived with her trauma for more than 30 years. She has not forgotten the clothing she wore, the sound of the music getting louder, the smell of alcohol on her attacker, the hand that covered her mouth, the friends in the house who could not hear her screams, and her own feelings of despair thinking that she would become a rape victim.

If her story is accepted as credible, Judge Kavanaugh is not being criticized and held accountable solely for his actions as a 17 year-old, but for his actions every day since then and his refusal to take responsibility for \the scars his actions left on the psyche of another human being.  If our elected #GOP officials don’t understand that, they are even less deserving of their positions than any nominee they would send to the bench.