This is something I have been trying to piece together for the past few weeks, since the Kavanaugh trial began. I know, that with this post, I should expect some criticism and perhaps hate, but I need to speak my truth. I am tired of feeling silenced and ignored, simply because I have a different perspective. These things I need to say are my truths; they are what propel me as a woman.
I will preface this post by saying just a few things first. I could have chosen instead, to completely ignore the biggest media and cultural reaction since the OJ trial, or to even
write something entirely different. But I can not do that; I need to speak. This is not intended to be a political post. This post will not focus on the facts of the trial, or the details of the case. The information I have learned about both Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford have been through other people, and through biased news outlets. I trust neither of those sources alone for my information. I will not seek to determine who was truthful or to analyze what transpired years ago between the two of them. I seek to write this post as politically unbiased as possible; though I am a registered Republican, I detest both political parties for their aggressive political agendas and ulterior motives.
The verdict on Kavanaugh has been decided, and he has been voted into, and by the time this is posted, sworn into the Supreme Court. Whether or not that is something you condone, the event is said and done. That being said, if Kavanuagh truly did assault Dr. Ford and he lied under oath, then I hope and pray that the right person sits on the Supreme Court, and the proper consequences are administered. However, if Kavanaugh did not assault Dr. Ford and she lied under oath, then I hope and pray that the right person sits on the Supreme Court, and the proper consequences are administered.
Finally, my heart breaks for every person who has been a victim of sexual abuse, sexual assault, or rape. I cannot imagine the pain and agony you have had to endure. My heart breaks for the women abused by Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and countless others. My heart breaks for all of the young boys and men who have stepped forward about abuse at the hands of Catholic priests. My heart breaks for all of the men who have been sexually assaulted or abused, but fear they cannot speak out, because of the stigma that “men can’t be sexually abused”. My heart breaks for all of the people, men and women, who have been falsely accused of these heinous crimes, and have spent years in prison and/or have had their reputation forever ruined. I write this post with the understanding that sexual crimes are not just a woman’s issue; they are a human issue.
As a woman, I don’t stand with women. I stand for truth, justice, logic, and reason. I don’t stand blindly for a movement simply because women are involved. I don’t vote for politicians simply because of genitalia or biology. As a woman, I take pride in my brain, and my ability to vote and speak my mind, dependent on logic, justice, reason, and my beliefs and values.
Society is in the midst of a terrifying cognitive shift. People have made the incredible leap of believing that all victims should be heard, to all victims are to be believed. A precedent is being established where a man who is accused of victimizing a woman is automatically crucified without a second thought. This is incredibly scary, especially for men. If my brothers, father, fiance, grandfathers, cousins, uncles, friends, were falsely accused of a sexual crime, I would pray for justice to ring out. Why is this not the feeling for everyone? Have women become more important than men? And if so, that is not equality, or feminism. That is superiority and inferiority and, I would even offer, is genderism. The side effect then, is that if any woman will be believed and affirmed for any claims of sexual assault, any man could be locked away. This leads directly to the possibility that I could claim that (for example!) Leonardo DiCaprio sexually assaulted me. Regardless of whether or not we have ever interacted, with the present logic, if I am a woman, and I make that claim, DiCaprio should be thrown in jail. Correct? This is a terrifying progression of logic, because it becomes incredibly easy to use this thought pattern to blackmail, exact revenge, or for a woman to get whatever she wants from a man. This pattern is becoming present in the media and social reaction to the trial, and less during the actual proceedings.
I don’t stand for women because sexual crimes are becoming warped and minimized. This is a two-part reason. Firstly, the understandings of what sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape are, have become incredibly distorted. Have we truly gotten to the point in society, where if a man happens to look at a woman “the wrong way”, she can claim sexual assault? If this is the case, then these crimes have taken on the same evolution as what the word “racist” has. At one point, being racist meant viewing people from another race as inferior. Now, that word has gotten to the point where it can only be applied to white-to-black interactions, the refusal to pay reparations to the African-Americans for the past history of slavery, and the inability to pronounce some African-American names. Being racist has gone from an incredibly specific definition, to a terrifyingly broad generalization. Sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape are facing the same fate. What these terms once describe as blatant sexual acts between one person and an unwilling participant, has developed into failed one-night stands, “wrong” looks, and in some cases, situations where women don’t want to stake responsibility. I need to make this clear, especially after doing a bit of research, that I am not attempting to minimize any survivor, or situation that had occurred. I am simply seeking to demonstrate how this blind belief of women and the overwhelming support for anyone who claims to be a victim without understanding the situation, minimizes the times when things do actually
happen. For example, as this tweet illustrates, rape can now happen through technology. If being “raped through technology” is on the same plain as actual, physical contact rape, then we as a culture are facing a massive crisis. If this tweet does not seem like a problem to you in this regard, you are part of the issue.
Secondly, the multitudes of women clamoring for support of Dr. Ford, including those that stood in the elevator waiting for the Senator to change his vote, those women who had to be escorted out of the chamber as the vote was being cast today, and the thousands of women online who share tweets, Instagram posts, and Facebook statuses are minimizing the true nature of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape. There are thousands of women, and sexual crime survivors who do not stand with Dr. Ford at all, but are silenced by the shrieks and screams of the women who demand unyielding support for all victimized women. Just because a lot of people support something, does not always make it true.
I am also a few months short of completing my bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and I believe I know a thing or two about trauma, and how the brain holds onto memories. One of the biggest types of memories associated with trauma are flashbulb memories. These are memories of moments in time where emotional significance is attributed to the situation, and thus details are remembered in striking clarity. For example, I have flashbulb memories of the day my fiance and I met, of the day we got engaged, and of more negative moments in my life, such as family members’ passing away, and moments in time I deeply regret. In flashbulb memories, and other memories associated with trauma, the day, time, year, and location are generally remembered. Ask any survivor when and where they were taken advantage of, and they can most likely point to the day, month, and year, and they can name a location. Most survivors remember enough details, and have mentally processed the event enough, to be able to describe in detail, including multiple senses, what happened the day they were abused. This is where I feel these crimes are being minimized, because Dr. Ford has not provided enough details to know exactly what happened at the said party. I do not doubt something happened to Dr. Ford, but I do not believe it was Brett Kavanaugh, for this reason. (I should also note that in the Psychology field, repressed memories hold little baring, and are deemed to not be legitimate.) Because women who have been victims of sexual crimes simply hear a woman is accusing a man, they do not wait for the details. They jump on the sympathy train, but not the “we have lived through similar things” train. In this case, sexual assault appears to be incredibly minor, because there is not enough evidence to corroborate the woman’s claims, but she is being touted as a savior.
I don’t stand with women because this trial is being called an attack on women. This was brought up by my English professor, and she seemed to be in support of this idea. I however, find this to be incredibly ridiculous. If this trial is an attack on women, because there is not enough evidence to support Dr. Ford’s claims and convict Kavanaugh, then an attack on women is being confused with an attack on logical, lawful proceedings. If this case is being called an attack on women because white men seemed to be running the proceedings, then that is an incredibly sexist and shallow view of the judicial system and Senate hearings. If it comes to be proven that this case was biased towards Kavanaugh, then I will be just as angry as the rest. However, if it is also comes to be proven that this case was biased towards Dr. Ford, then I will also be just as angry as the rest.
I do not stand with women, because right now, they are not proving themselves to be rational creatures. They are dominating the conversation with yelling and screaming and emotion. I have discussed this previously, but I am a traditional feminist, in the fact that I view men and women as equal. I believe men and women are capable of logically reasoning through things, and responding to situations, and not reacting. What we are seeing right now is not equality. If everything is sexual abuse, sexual assault, or rape, then women have truly become the weaker sex. This may be a bit controversial, but if women are afraid of all men, then they truly are the weaker sex. Good men exist, and I would wager are even more prominent than not, but the guys with evil intentions are always the loudest voice. I have been speaking a lot of women, as of I am separate from them, and that is because I feel that way. I cannot connect with my fellow women in their response of this trial. However, because of that, I am called horrible names because I do not automatically affirm Dr. Ford, and I am called horrible things if I take a step back and examine the big picture.
Finally, I do not stand with women because the judicial component of due process is being eliminated, in order to crucify a man accused of a sexual crime as quickly as possible. Due process is the right provided anyone accused of a crime, to a fair trial of their peers with a fair investigation of the evidence, as well as providing the victim with the ability to share their side of the event as well. Simply, due process is the premise of being innocent until proven guilty. Without due process, chaos would ensue, much like what I mentioned earlier in regards to blindly believing women. Also, the last time courts were conducted without due process, black people were being lynched, and Emmett Till was killed.
Finally, though I could say a lot more, I will concluded with my story. I am not a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or rape. However, I have had a sexual encounter that has left me with bad memories and regrets. There was no sex involved; however, I made the decision my freshman year of college to interact with a 24-year old man. Things were done that I thought I was okay with in the moment, but as time has passed, I have grown increasingly uncomfortable with. I have not experienced the trauma of being raped, or any other sexual crimes, but I have flashbulb memories from those experiences with that man. There is a particular smell that fills me with anxiety. There is a particular make of car that makes me incredibly uncomfortable. There are particular landmarks that bring the memories back up, and there is a particular area where I know he lived that, when driving through, provided me with tons of flashbacks and brought about a quiet, not-myself attitude. (I later came to find out that he was cheating on his girlfriend with me, so it was a wild sort of relief to expose him. I still have the conversation saved in my phone as a reminder of what women are capable of, and what to stand up for in men. It acts as my closure, and I am very appreciative of it.) However, I made the conscious decision to engage with this man, and even though he made sure I was comfortable with what was happening, when I no longer was, I made no move to say “stop” or to move away. Because I made those decisions, I deal with the consequences. I recognize this, I know this, and I live with this. The weight of personal decisions is being lost to recognition of unfavorable consequences.
If you ask me if I stand with women, I would say no. I don’t stand for women. I stand for truth, and justice, and logic, and reason. I stand for due process, and unemotionally biased judicial proceedings. I stand for no political agendas and ulterior motives. I stand for human rights, and the equality of men and women. And I stand for all of the survivors who have come before, and who will undoubtedly come after.
I have said all I need to say. I am tired of talking about politics, or being called mean things, or feeling guilty for not believing Dr. Ford. I am weary of life right now, and I am not looking forward to the post-2016 election reaction that is sure to follow Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
What are your thoughts?