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Sexual Assault: The world’s faceless crime

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Senate Judiciary hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as the newest Supreme Court Justice have dominated the political news cycle. With his record of diligent service and respect nearly guaranteeing him the job, it came as a shock to all when news of alleged sexual misconduct muddled headlines. Christine Blasey Ford is speaking out about a violent sexual attack that she claims occurred when she and Kavanaugh were in high school, further igniting the discussion around rape and consent.

Brett Kavanaugh has an impeccable record. He is a respected conservative Republican. He is a devout Catholic Christian. He is the father of two beautiful girls, Lisa and Margaret, and his husband to Ashley Kavanaugh, who he married in 2004. Brett is a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon and a cum laude graduate of Yale University. He was appointed to the US Appeals Court by President George W. Bush, and then in 2018 nominated to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump.

            However, none of that matters. Why? His reputation as a respectable person does not deem him incapable of sexual assault.

            It is important to note that all sexual violence is about asserting power over a more vulnerable. Sex is simply the vehicle for this abuse.

Over the past few months, we have seen countless examples of elite and affluent members of society being accused of sexual misconduct. Politicians, actors, and even teachers can be perpetrators of such abuse, no matter whether they appear to be a great person. No one is exempt from being an abuser because of their place in society or status as a respected individual.

Their societal status is not enough to excuse them from proper investigation and examination when allegations are made against them. These alleged victims deserve to be heard and their claims properly handled by the authorities.

At the time of the attack of Christine Blasey Ford’s alleged attack, rapists were virtually untouchable. Those who were raped were believed to have in some way provoking the attack through being drunk or wearing revealing clothing; victims who did come forward were publicly humiliated by their communities while their attackers were able to live their lives unfazed. Additionally, because sexual assault is one of the most difficult cases to prove in the court of law, those victims who did take their cases to trial often did not receive justice and ended up being harassed because their claims were seemingly invalidated by the jury’s conclusions.

Fortunately, the climate around rape is changing. Movements like #MeToo are making it easier for victims to come forward and confront their attackers with the support of others. The plethora of support serves to counteract the negative comments that still surround victims, especially those who have decided to wait. Refusing to remain silent on the part of celebrities and icons that many of us look up to has given many the courage to seek justice from their attackers and demand the empathy of the world around them.

Those who wait to report their attacks are just as deserving of our empathy and respect. Understand that each time these individuals speak of these attacks, they relive the traumatic experience. Some of these attacks are brutal and debilitating, and therefore we as a society must do our part as a society to be supportive.

Kavanaugh and Ford have each been asked to appear before the Senate Judiciary committee in the coming week to review the allegations and determine Kavanaugh’s further eligibility for the Supreme Court. We are all uncertain of the result, but it has forced each of us to take a closer at the way of country views sexual assault within the political arena.

You could look at it and say it was bleak considering the sheer number of sexual assault allegations made against Donald Trump. He had one of the most controversial election seasons and yet, he was able to become president. You could also be hopeful and see the willingness to listen on the part of the Senate Judiciary as progress. They are awarding Ford the opportunity to face her accuser and have her story heard. She might finally be able to receive the justice she deserves if Kavanaugh is indeed guilty.

Even if Kavanaugh is still nominated to the Supreme Court Ford will be heralded around the world by those who have been sexually abused for her courage in standing up against sexual violence. Kavanaugh’s reputation will never be the same. People will remember the allegations, and despite his position, people will continue to fight for abusers to be brought to justice.

 

 

           

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Sexual Assault: The world’s faceless crime