photo courtesy of esquire.com
Over the last few months, the notorious Ford vs. Kavanaugh case has been hanging in the spotlight, on display for the public. It has been the conversation piece -- from numerous headlines, to the facebook comment section, and to family dinner tables. This situation has been scrutinized, examined, and it lies dissected and ripped apart before the world’s eyes.
Essentially, when Brett Kavanaugh (who has served in law in various ways for many years) was elected for Supreme Court Justice by Donald Trump, Christine Blasey Ford came forward with sexual allegations from when they were students at a party. In summation, her claims follow a narrative where a drunk Kavanaugh pulls her into a room and assaults her. What should be seen as bravery from Ford, has been twisted into her spewing false accusations (Even after providing a polygraph test & notes from therapy sessions) and an event she should have left in the past.
Yet, I’m certain that if sexual assault survivors could leave their life altering trauma in the past, they would. No one chooses to have trauma ingrained into their everyday being. No one chooses to have night terrors, doubt that eats away in the pit of their stomachs, lack of validation, difficulty finding self value and worth, and the countless ways trauma can look like to each survivor.
Survivors are strong and they choose to move forward everyday they wake up and choose to try again and again. Even so, trauma is not something you can simply put on the shelf to fit nicely along with books that are five years old with outdated family pictures. When we foster a society that denounces and shames women for speaking their stories that hold such weight, we attempt to reduce a life altering situation for a startling amount of people (1 women for every 3; 1 man for every 33 ), to something that one can simply ‘move on’ from.
“When we foster a society that denounces and shames women for speaking their stories that hold so much weight -- we attempt to reduce a life altering situation for a startling amount of people (1 women for every 3 women; 1 man for every 33 men), to something that one can simply ‘move on’ from.”
I have seen numerous critical comments about why Ford would suddenly emerge and come forward with allegations at the rise of his career -- And that is exactly where the answer lies. Ford saw her nightmare, her abuser, sit in on potentials cases and rulings that could continue to negatively affect other survivors. She saw the continuous domino effect of unfounded shame and stigma affecting the amount of sexual assault reports -- which according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, is only 64% of sexual assault incidents.
Ford saw (and existed) in the broken narrative of survivors suffering in silence out of fear, out of shame, out of threats, and that is why she came forward. Ford came forward for every time a person is told that it didn’t happen, for every survivor who will never share, and for every girl who watches men violently deny allegations and wonders who would listen to her, if it happens to her.
"Ford came forward for every time a person is told that it didn’t happen, for every survivor who will never share, and for every girl who watches men violently deny allegations and wonders who would listen to her, if it happens to her."
Situations like these shed light on truth. One could claim that this post is to simply convince people to believe Ford, but that is not the purpose. While I do find Ford's claims believable and I will always advocate that women be heard and have a safe place to speak up about their truth, there is more that lies beyond this case. For centuries, women have constantly been berated for coming forward. They are told it didn’t happen, that they should have been more careful, that they should have been wearing something different, that it was so long ago, and the like. Women are turned into the villain, the offender, the wrongdoer, the problem, when it should be the polar opposite -- That is why Ford came forward. That is why this case matters, along with all of the incidents in which a woman is made into a thing to be touched, to be owned, to be hurt, and to be silenced. The Ford vs. Kavanaugh case reminds us of a truth that is still ingrained in our society -- We are a part of a culture that has built a hostile place for women and their stories, their traumas, & their truth --
That is why Ford spoke up. That is why your sister speaks up. That is why that one girl speaks up.
This is why we speak up.
Written by Sveta Petty