Students react to Kavanaugh hearing

The train has stopped for me

“Once he was selected and it seemed like he was popular and it was a sure vote, I was calculating daily the risk/benefit for me of coming forward, and wondering whether I would just be jumping in front of a train that was headed to where it was headed anyway and that I would just be personally annihilated.”

Christine Blasey-Ford

What happens when the person who assaults you is popular? What happens when the person who assaults you is the ‘nice guy?’ What happens when the person who assaults you is someone important?

Coming forward after a sexual assault is never easy. These questions that Christine Blasey-Ford so honestly and vulnerably shared during the Ford, Kavanaugh hearings, weigh on survivors every day. Will the costs outweigh the risks? Will I be okay if I tell the truth?

These are not questions that people should ask when they have already been taken advantage of—this weight is not one they should shoulder. 

But maybe they don’t have to. Maybe something is changing. 

Ford’s testimony during the hearings last week represents a turning point. People are starting to get the picture, to understand that we cannot let boys be boys and we cannot let men treat women’s bodies as play things, games with friends. 

Kavanaugh’s statements about liking beer, his attachment to his calendar, the “drinking games” he would play, like the “devil’s triangle,” are not seen in the light of fun with friends, they are seen for what they are: pathetic and cruel. 

While it can seem that this whole situation is for naught, especially since the conformation of Kavanaugh is increasingly more likely day by day, the tide is turning.

Being able to see a woman so confidently and bravely tell her story. Being able to see not one senator call her a liar or a whore or some other phrase that survivors of sexual assault hear all too often, is something that at least I can hang on to. 

While there is still questions regarding her testimony, with many citing the lack of specificity or the reasons behind the hearing, I have not heard the uproar that usually follows these accusations. And while we are nowhere near where we should be about protecting and supporting survivors in our community, this instance shows that we are getting there day by day. 

Thank you Dr. Ford for sharing your testimony, for doing your civic duty, for telling the truth, for showing women they can come forward. It may seem like we aren’t getting anywhere, but the train is stopping, at least for me.


There is more to be considered

Who really is Brett Kavanaugh? It’s this question that has grabbed headlines, troubled journalists and divided the country over the past few months, and even with midterm elections coming up, showing no signs of stopping.

While the media, FBI and politicians race each other to find out, few people have stopped to address the things we do know about Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Fewer have stopped to ask the most important question: is he qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice?

Kavanaugh is a graduate from Yale Law School. He is a former clerk of Justice Anthony Kennedy and co-wrote the independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s report in the 1990’s. He has a somewhat vague stance on abortion. President George W Bush nominated Kavanaugh to the federal appeals court after serving 12 years on the D.C. circuit. Kavanaugh has spent a large portion of his life in Washington and has notable friends on both sides of the isle. He is married with two daughters, and volunteers for Catholic Charity groups.

Whether this information is directly indicative of Kavanaugh’s innocence or not, the fact is that no one is using these very basic facts to assess his character. Instead, name-calling, accusations and largely uncorroborated allegations are the only ‘evidence’ the media and government need these days to call someone ‘evil’ and have the rest of the world believe it.

The outcome of the Kavanaugh investigation has yet to be determined, but in a sense, the damage has already been done. Repeated attacks on his character have claimed headline news and absorbed every social media one can think of. Regardless of his innocence, there will be a permanent stain on his name forever.

To a certain extent, the Kavanaugh turmoil represents the state of animosity in politics today. It is dangerous how easily one’s character can be slandered —how a few people’s words can spiral to completely undermine a lifetime of accomplishments and characteristics. 

No doubt that the allegations against Kavanaugh are serious, with weighty implications considering his character and qualifications. But we need to remember that prospects of innocence and guilt should be examined thouroughly, and not just written off for the promotion of political agendas. If this investigation is truly in pursuit of the truth, we need objectivity and critical thinking to replace the takeover of name-calling and accusations in modern politics. 


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