Last week, h̶i̶s̶t̶o̶r̶y̶ herstory was made.
The United States watched an esteemed, scholarly, accomplished woman come forward to reveal and to relive the trauma that she suffered when she was fifteen years old. We witnessed a survivor of sexual assault recount her trauma, in front of not just the entire nation, but before some of the most powerful, predominantly male individuals in the country, knowing that most already stated their support of her alleged attacker. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward, willingly amidst the risk and the spotlight it put her and her family through, to inform the Senate Judiciary Committee about their nominee to the highest court, who would hold a lifetime appointment. It is worth noting that she has received death threats and had to move out of her house. As if she hadn’t suffered enough, now her family, her home and even her work have been affected.
The Republican senators wisely chose a female prosecutor to question Dr. Ford, in their place – as a group of entitled white men questioning a sexual assault victim certainly didn’t offer the best optics.
Dr. Ford calmly and coherently answered the prosecutor’s and senators’ questions, to the best of her ability for four hours. Her testimony packed so much palpable, potency that had FOX News acknowledging such. More importantly, there was a 147% increase in the amount of calls to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.
There was a break and then it was SCOTUS nominee, Brett Kavanaugh’s turn to speak.
His lengthy, bombastic, accusatory opening statement indicated that this session certainly was going to differ from Dr. Ford’s. Judge Kavanaugh’s answers to the senators were ambiguous at best. He often disregarded the question and instead took the opportunity to filibuster the allotted 5 minutes per senator, with long-winded answers or one-upmanship statements. The biggest takeaways from his testimony were 1) his refusal to call for an FBI investigation himself and 2) his surprising, irate, erratic and partisan temperament. Kavanaugh all by himself, revealed his true character during this hearing and it is the author’s opinion that it is one not worthy of holding a lifelong appointment in the highest ranking court in the United States.
The Senate Judiciary Committee adjourned in the evening with the vote scheduled for the next morning at 9:30 am EST.
9:30 came and went. The vote was pushed until 1:30 pm. 1:30 arrived and nothing was happening. 1:35 and there was some movement. Senator Flake went over to Senator Coons to meet outside. They returned shortly later with an announcement by Senator Flake. He declared his concern surrounding the allegations and called for a one-week delay in the vote. He asked for the FBI to conduct an investigation that would be narrow and limited in scope. Almost immediately after, the session ended as is Senate policy to conclude at 2.
Perhaps it was the momentum of #MeToo Movement, the fear of repeating the past mistakes of the Anita Hill hearings, or the sexual assault victims coming forward in support of Dr. Ford. Maybe it was the constant busy phone lines, the full mail inboxes of senators, the numerous protestors, or simply the call to do the right thing. Regardless, it was a very pleasant surprise to see that there are those in office who place country over party.
Not even a week later, the FBI has concluded its investigation and report. However, there is only one copy and it is not available to the public. So, the nation continues to watch the senators’ reactions to the FBI report, for clues and guidance regarding the nature and contents of the report. Ideally, the contents or specific documents, such as Mark Judge’s statements, will be declassified; however, it is unlikely especially before the vote that is scheduled for this Saturday, October 6.
As the nation watches this confirmation process unfold, I will say that it, is at the very least, incredibly disconcerting that accusations of sexual assault only bare consequences in the Hollywood and media industries. Those holding the highest political power seem to be immune to severe consequences of such horrendous, grotesque acts. But senators beware - November IS coming. As the phrase goes, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Well, we passed scorned long ago. We American women, the majority, will see you at the voting booths.
And to Dr. Ford, thank you a thousand times over for your inspiring, courage to come forward. You bore the weight of all us on your shoulders and I can only wish you could feel our gratitude, love and support for your admirable bravery. We stand with you as we stand with all victims and survivors. You are our champion.
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