The allegations of sexual assault and rape made against Brett Kavanaugh has polarised an already polar country. While a large number of people have put their support behind the multiple women who have come forward to speak about their experience, a large number of people have also slammed the allegations.
It is no surprise that the sexual assault allegations are being slammed; to the people supporting him, the allegations coming to light during the midterm elections suggests to them that the allegations are a way of political point scoring from the Democrat Party. However, violence and other violations against a woman’s right should be taken seriously regardless of whom the perpetrator is or the timings of the allegations. Looking at statistics from a 2010 US study, over the course of 20 years only 2-10% of rape accusations turned out to be false. It’s also important to remember that a “false accusation” doesn’t necessarily mean that it is false per say; an accusation can be deemed as false if the victim retracts his/her statement (which is done for a variety of reasons).
Many victims have come forward to express their traumatic experiences including: Christine Balsey Ford claiming that Kavanaugh pinned her down and proceeded to grope her while covering her mouth with his hand, Deborah Ramirez claiming that she remembers his penis in front of her face while she was drunk, Julie Swetnick alleging that Brett Kavanaugh (along with his friends) would spike the drinks and gang rape the intoxicated women, and an array of accusations made by victims who wish to remain anonymous. On top of all this, many witnesses have confirmed these accusations to be true. The only piece of “evidence” which goes against the allegations is his calendar. Compare the credibility and the strength of a calendar as evidence to the accounts of multiple women and witnesses.
The typical pro-Kavanaugh argument, “why didn’t she report it back then, why is she speaking about it now?” shows the lack of understanding people have when it comes sexual assault as well as other harrowing crimes. Usually when sexual assault victims are asked about why they couldn’t have reported the crime earlier, their reasons usually are: they felt as if they wouldn’t be believed, they did but their experiences were brushed off by the authorities, they thought that there would be a lack of justice brought or that they were threatened by the perpetrators.
Throughout the years, we have seen many influential figures caught in the act whether it be in the performing arts industry or in politics. Figures such as R Kelly, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and Donald Trump have been found to be allegedly involved in a lot of incidents of sexual assault and rape but what allowed them to get away with it for so long? It was power. Yes power. These men often used their status symbols and the fact that they were men to overpower the women in order to “have their way”, in Kavanaugh’s case, it was probably the fact that he was an upper class young adolescent with a father who worked in the legal field. Surely a man with that type of background can get away with anything, even if it is rape? Right?
When asked by the panel at Congress whether he would consent to an investigation from the FBI to clear up any allegations and to restore his credibility, Kavanaugh declined. To a lot of people, this would ring alarm bells. It seems more likely that the allegations were true and that he was trying his best to hide the skeletons in his closet. When questioned by the panel about these allegations, he beat around the bush when it came to giving answers and in some cases became overly-defensive (for instance when asked about his drinking habits, he simply threw the question back to the senator who asked it). Now for a quite a few of these famous figures, once the details are out they begin to head for their professional demise but the case of Brett Kavanaugh was different, with Republicans (including Trump) rushing to his defence and slamming the media coverage as well as the allegations themselves.
Kavanaugh smoothly sailing through the array of allegations and criticisms to a seat at the US Supreme Court is very telling of modern society. It shows how the upper-classes (or the “bourgeoisie” in Marxist terms) can get away with anything a working class (or “proletariat”) would get heavily castigated for. With great wealth and power comes great immunity. It also reveals the traces of the patriarchy still visible; the idea that men can still assert their power over women, “have their way” and get away with it simply because the women are less likely to be believed.
The people defending Kavanaugh often use the typical and outdated phrase, “boys will be boys” or “men will be men”. It is about time we throw these ideas out the window, we as a society simply cannot grant immunity to men who have sexually assaulted women by using this phrase to normalise it. No, boys aren’t being boys and men aren’t being men while they are engaging in misogynistic behaviour; they are being far from that. Kavanaugh was an adolescent, him and his friends knew exactly what they were doing when they spiked the punch, he knew exactly of the dangers of getting drunk once he held that drink. Consent is such an easy concept to grasp. If you can teach a dog to not eat a piece of food on your table, you can teach a man to not force himself upon women who are in no position to give sexual consent.
The FBI investigation done to find out if the allegations were true was carried out over the duration of five days and not every victim or person who knew about the questionable actions was interviewed. To a lot of people, it may seem as if the Republicans in government allowed these investigations to happen simply to calm the critics but also to get it wrapped up before the polls open for the mid-term elections. It’s as if they are hoping that finishing the investigation early would mean people would forget about it. Now this blog is not to say that Kavanaugh is guilty and that he definitely did sexually assault and rape the women, this blog is meant to say that the evidence, Kavanaugh’s handling and The Republican Party’s handling of the allegations makes it seem likely that the allegations are true. This piece was also intended to make people realise the unhealthy and immoral approach we, as a society take when confronted with a sexual assault case.