The Pain After Partisan Victory

 

With four degrees from top universities in the country, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University of Medicine. Now, Dr. Ford has become a hero to many and a liar to others, after bringing forth her accusations against now Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh.

Upon hearing of the list of Supreme Court nominees, she was reminded of a trauma that shaped her adolescence. The name “Brett Kavanaugh” was no longer a nightmare she tried to escape. It was reality. That name brought her back to being 15, pushed in a room, with her mouth meeting Kavanaugh’s hand as he attempted to rape her.

According to Ford’s testimony, she had never told anyone of her sexual assault in detail. That was until 2012, when she and her husband were remodeling their house and Ford insisted on a second front door– “a second way out of the house.” Her husband felt compelled to question the reasoning behind a second entrance. Prior to her explanation, the request seemed frivolous and unnecessary. However, once they met with a couple’s therapist, Ford described Kavanaugh’s drunken assault. She described that she managed to flee, locking herself in a bathroom while they belligerently walked back downstairs. Upon hearing their voices recede, Ford ran out of the house, frightened that they’d see her running out the [only] front door. There is a record of Ford’s session in her therapist’s files.

This story, one that tearfully remained private in a room with her husband and therapist, returned 6 years later to 100 senators and became the topic of public debate in modern American politics.

Ford’s testimony was powerful, specific, and gutting. It offered a painful recollection of what it is to be a woman in America. Ford’s composure led to a painful realization: sexual assault is a bipartisan issue. Even Fox News’ Chris Wallace said, “this is a disaster for the Republicans.”

Dr. Ford did everything that could be asked of a witness. After all, the hearing wasn’t about her. It was about the man she accused of sexual assault.

Kavanaugh entered the hearing with his face red, jaw clenched, and frankly, angry. Revealing his Republican fervor with a near shout, Kavanaugh said:

“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit,” he raged, “fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups. This is a circus.”

Kavanaugh’s visible anger created a moment of forgetfulness amongst viewers. While he repeatedly mentioned the word “beer” (29 times, to be exact), Kavanaugh’s taste for beer made us forget that Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony was his hearing to be voted into the Supreme Court.

His testimony begged a huge question: why can’t we doubt him like we doubt Dr. Christine Blasey Ford?

Beyond placing belief between Kavanaugh and Ford, the political system in the United States demonstrated a deep divide. Beyond party affiliations, Ford displayed a specific, credible, and serious testimony. Ford told her story to several people over the years and even told Congress prior to Kavanaugh’s nomination. Furthermore, she pinpointed Kavanaugh’s hometown, the owner of the house she was assaulted in, and the name –and the part-time job– of his best friend at the time, Mark Judge.

Once Kavanaugh’s testimony began, he mentioned a striking reality, “I’m never going to get my reputation back,” he said, “My life is totally, and permanently altered.” This described suffering scintillated down the spines of Dr. Ford and sexual assault victims nationwide.

After a week-long investigation, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as Supreme Court Justice on October 6, 2018 for a lifelong seat with a 50-48 vote.

While President Donald Trump apologizes to Justice Brett Kavanaugh for the “terrible pain and suffering” he and his family were “forced to endure,” Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and her family won’t be able to “return home for quite some time” due to continuous death threats.

Dr. Ford retraumatized herself to fight a system that does not fight for women. This provides us with an upsetting truth… If Dr. Ford, “a highly educated, married, upper-middle-class white woman” can’t be enough to have an impact on how [we] perceive sexual assault victims, the effects (societal, mental and physical) are only worse for women with “fewer resources at their disposal.”

Despite an 8 hour hearing, and an inconclusive FBI investigation, Kavanaugh’s lifelong appointment proves that the United States’ deep polarization has drowned us to the point where not even our Supreme Court’s ethics can circumvent justice. If not even those who belong to the United States’ highest court of law can be held accountable, who can?

 

–Daniela Perez

Photo Credit: Christina Animashaun/Vox

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