I believe Ford and Ramirez. Save SCOTUS. Believe survivors.
These are the chants heard across the nation, among young high school students who look to the highest court in the land with a sense of reverence, among idealistic law students who desire to reform the judiciary, among law professors and the ABA who desire for the courts to represent the greatest minds and meet the highest of moral standards, and to the American people whose trust in the high court has deteriorated from the disgusting partisanship on display.
These chants are heard, and they are rightly so revered in the face of a great injustice. Upon the Supreme Court sits two men who have been accused of robbing the human dignity of three women among them. Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh have been accused of robbing these women of their mental well-being, of their faith in the court and the system to protect them, of the public to hear and believe their stories, and of their right to receive the support and retribution they deserve. Their deepest moral fiber has been ripped out, laid out for the world to attack and barrel into, leaving them on the wayside to pick up the pieces. And this is unforgivable.
The deepest opposition I have heard is that the stories of these women should not be believed. What I hear is not a logical argument, what I hear is centuries of misogyny, of the reality that 1 in 6 women will be victim to attempted or complete sexual assault in their lifetime. And this is not to say that their argument is illogical because these women couldn’t possibly be wrong, it is rather to say that I believe in these women because for centuries upon centuries we have refused to listen to the voices of our women. We have allowed her to suffer in silence. We have robbed her of any support and of any resources. We have told her that when she has had her dignity and sense of safety stolen from her, that we don’t believe her.
What I hear does not make sense in terms of the facts. False reporting of rape and sexual assault lies at 2% according to the FBI, which is on track with other felonies. However, according to law enforcement agencies across the nation, the classification of “false” is rather broad. “False” could mean delayed reporting, insufficient evidence to prosecute the perpetrator, a victim’s decision to not cooperate with investigators (oftentimes out of fear), inconsistencies in a victim’s statements, or not enough witnesses. So, in actuality, this 2% should in fact be lower.
Others and I cannot logically believe that a woman will so publicly come forward if such a claim is false. I cannot believe that a woman would risk the ruin of her life. I cannot believe that a woman would willingly receive death threats. I cannot believe that a woman would willingly make a false claim with the scrutiny and judgement of the entire United States upon her. I cannot believe that a woman would willingly step forward knowing that close to half of the United States would not believe her story, just like Anita Hill over a decade ago, calling her a paid actor. I cannot believe that a woman who received therapy and medical treatment years ago for this assault could just ‘make it up’.
In Anita Hill’s case against justice Clarence Thomas in the 90’s, the attorney and law professor was ripped into by an all-male Judiciary Committee that questioned her credibility and shamefully seemed out of touch with the reality of sexual assault and harassment. One of their most glaring faults laid in their inability to understand that, medically and neurologically speaking, many victims feel psychologically powerless to leave their abuser or assaulter.
In Christine Blasey Ford’s case, the psychology professor was given the chance to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, this time featuring four female senators- all Democrats. During this testimony Ford was credible; she presented the facts clearly and with veracity. Yet, when Kavanaugh came upon the stand, he was fiery, angry, passionate, remarkably and outrageously partisan in his remarks, incredibly defensive, and had the audacity to both not provide clear answers and rip into the senators who were questioning him.
His behavior, as law students across the country have walked out over and 1,200 law professors and the ABA have signed on, is unbecoming of a judge, let alone a justice on the highest court of the land. Kavanaugh’s actions were irrevocably childish and his interpretation and defense torn down by lies and falsehoods. While I feel for his family and his daughters, I do not feel for him, especially through the way he conducted himself during such an event.
After this testimony, the FBI launched a five-day investigation into the allegations, an investigation of limited scope, and one that was not able to interview or subpoena several key witnesses. This is a disgrace. When the representatives of the United States are accused of something, this sets the precedent that accusations against them will not be given the same consideration as those of other citizens. In fact, it is an indication that these matters will turn into one of partisanship rather than human morality and dignity.
In all, Kavanaugh does not belong on the Supreme Court. He does not belong on the court when a proper and far-reaching probe was not carried out. He does not belong on the court when his actions and behavior have betrayed how a judge and justice should know how to conduct him or herself. His confirmation is a signal to men and women across the nation that they can commit crimes of a sexual nature and not be punished. His confirmation is a signal to victims across the nation that their stories do not matter.
What breaks my heart the most is that in the case that one of his daughters ever became one of six, would people refuse to believe her as they did Ford? Would they say there was no way it could have happened? Or if the accusation came out decades later, that the crime committed against her should not be considered because it happened years ago?
I challenge those who do not agree with me to answer that question for themselves, and when they can - I’m sure they never will be able to - is when I will call their argument logical.