Editorial: We Believe Women: Standing with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
The events of this past week have demonstrated how crucial it is to believe women. Forced to relive her trauma on a national stage, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford provided credible and moving testimony, alleging that President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, sexually assaulted her when she was 15 years old. Her composed demeanor sharply contrasted Kavanaugh’s disgruntled expression and his slimy insistence on dodging many of the questions posed to him by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Dr. Ford’s testimony inspired allies across the country to hold her up as a national hero and a champion for survivors who refuse to be defined by their experience with sexual violence. The image of Kavanaugh chugging water with comically unnecessary forcefulness while spewing faux-relatability through assertions of a preference for beer-drinking and a promise of virginity affirm how shameful it would be for the Senate to confirm him as as a Supreme Court justice.
The sensationalization of the testimony by news and media outlets and the hyper-politicalization of the process as a whole enabled many to forget that Dr. Ford was not, in any way, on trial. Rather, this testimony was merely part of Kavanaugh’s hiring process. This was, in essence, a job interview. The Review, along with countless other organizations and companies, would not consider hiring an applicant accused of sexual misconduct. It is problematic, to say the least, that the U.S. government does not adhere to same hiring standards — further evidenced by the twenty allegations of sexual misconduct that have been lodged against the President. Shuttling a man with blatant disrespect for women’s bodies into a position on the Supreme Court delegitimizes the court’s authority and, more importantly, the accounts of survivors of sexual violence who do not have the privilege of providing tangible proof. If this nomination process has not already done so, then Kavanaugh’s election to the court would put our collective faith in the law and the judiciary in an even more tenuous predicament.
Furthermore, Dr. Ford’s account of the incident draws glaring similarities to experiences of sexual violence that nearly one in four women on this campus have been forced to cope with and confront. In light of Dr. Ford’s moving account of her endured trauma and the admitted refusal of many Republican senators to consider such while voting, we must support survivors and believe women who come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct.
This news is especially relevant to students because of how transferable the situation is to a university context. Government officials are willing to overlook Dr. Ford’s credible allegations of sexual assault. This apathy may signal to disconnected university officials across the country that the same practice of dismissal should be applied to students in similar situations. The rampant sexual violence that permeates campus culture, here and elsewhere, would continue to go unchecked. Young men will unremittingly deny responsibility for engaging in non-consensual sex acts without fear of retribution from the university system. The societal standards that allow for Kavanaugh to have committed the heinous acts detailed by Dr. Ford without being held accountable are still in place and would be further reinforced if he is elected to the Supreme Court.
As young people, we will be facing the consequences of Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court. His nomination would signal blatant disrespect of survivors and provide institutional reinforcement of the notion that white, straight, men do not have to be held accountable for their actions. Do not waste your time searching for reasons to support Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court; instead, respect the women who have been forced to relive their trauma and moved to broadcast their experiences of sexual assault just to ensure that this country is a safer place for all of us.
Editorials are developed by The Review’s editorial board, and reflect the majority view of the staff, the Editor in Chief and the Executive Editor. The editorial board was led this week by Editorial Editor Alex Eichenstein. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.