Last Thursday, I was left speechless by the hearings of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh. I went through a range of emotions watching the hearings, from shock and horror during Blasey’s testimony to outright anger during Kavanaugh’s testimony.
Thursday’s hearings were outright shameful.
Here we are, 27 years after Anita Hill came forward with allegations against Clarence Thomas, and we still have a Supreme Court nominee (and likely future Justice) who has been accused of sexually assaulting women.
Here we have another survivor who is credible and passionate, who has told her story in front of the nation, was believed by the American people and still told by the Senate, “we don’t care.”
I have not been this angry with American politics since the last presidential election.
This is not about a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, or even Roe v. Wade. The case against Kavanagh is about whether a man who has done horrible things to women gets to serve on the highest court in the land, where he will likely make decisions about women’s rights.
If confirmed, the Senate will legitimize the idea that offenders will not be held accountable for their assault.
This arrogant, entitled man, who banged his fists on the table and screamed at the Senate Judiciary Committee during his hearing, does not have the temperament to serve on the highest court in the nation. If he can be this angry in front of the Senate, I cannot imagine how he will act on the bench of the Supreme Court.
In contrast, there was Blasey.
She was strong, credible, compelling and emotional. She did not walk into the hearing room seeking vengeance. Rather, she came to tell her story to the Senate, and let everyone know what happened to her one night during the Summer of 1982 — a summer that changed her life, a summer Kavanaugh seems to forget.
I was emotional during Blasey’s testimony.
She described every detail of the event and relieved the trauma of that assault before the entire country. She did not ask for this to happen to her and she did not want to be in that position. She was strong and compelling, and the Senate did not care.
I went to bed Thursday night feeling helpless. Our senators, in particular our Republican senators, were already planning on backing Kavanaugh before they even heard Blasey’s story. They hid behind an established prosecutor so their optics would not look bad.
They had no intention of subpoenaing Kavanaugh’s friend and the second witness to the assault, Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s second accuser Deborah Ramirez or anyone else who might provide significant evidence into Kavanaugh’s past behavior. They just wanted to push him through.
At least that is what I thought.
On Friday, after it was announced that he would vote yes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Senator Jeff Flake was approached by two women while getting in an elevator to go to the Judiciary Committee hearing. The two women’s names are Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, and they are survivors of sexual assault. They told the senator their stories of assault and begged him to vote against Kavanaugh.
Their stories struck him and, in a moment of action, Flake pressured the GOP and threatened to vote against Kavanaugh if an FBI investigation was not conducted prior to the vote. He was effective, and Friday an FBI investigation was ordered by the White House.
What last week proved was that it will be the survivors who will change the way sexual assault is viewed in America. That is what the #MeToo movement has been about all along.
By hearing the stories of two survivors, Senator Flake changed his mind about pushing Kavanaugh through to the Senate. If other senators hear stories from survivors, then maybe they will change their minds.
For this reason, I am calling on everyone, especially survivors and their loved ones, to call their senators and share their stories (only if, of course, they are comfortable discussing this information). The people in power need a voice and an identity of the people who will be affected by a Kavanaugh confirmation.
Blasey’s testimony changed the hearts and minds of the nation, but sadly it was not enough for the Senate. Ahead of this week’s vote, we as a nation need to give this issue faces and voices for our senators so they will be able to understand the impacts that Kavanaugh’s potential confirmation and judgeship will have on the United States.