Photo from Fox29.com
By Jen Cooper
It is okay to take a break.
It is difficult to watch the Kavanaugh coverage. Seeing his distorted face on Twitter, Facebook, every television channel and any other social media platform makes me sick. I have had several friends that are trying to push through and stay informed but are suffering.
People like to joke about ‘sensitive snowflakes,’ ‘triggers’ and ‘safe spaces’. It is not funny. Many survivors of sexual assault, including myself, are having flashbacks of the trauma they have been through. That trauma can be numbing and incapacitating.
I have stared in the mirror, wondering if I am weak or less of a person. If I cannot make it through this, then how will I make it through the ‘real world’? But that is just a sentiment people with privilege (both societal-rooted and the privilege of never having been through this), often baby boomers, like to say because they want to make us feel lesser.
It is okay to turn off the television.
There are folks who have been through hardship and ask, “If I’ve been through it and it was hell, why shouldn’t everyone else go through it?” There are also people with compassion, the good people we should aspire to be, who ask, “If I’ve been through it and it was hell, why should anyone else have to go through it?”
The first group of people are the same people saying that we should not believe the women that came forward about Kavanaugh, Trump, Cosby and so many other men. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is a hero, and those people are doing anything to discredit her. They would rather see a conservative on the United States Supreme Court than consider what Ford has been through (as well as the others that have come forward).
What is particularly tragic is that while Ford’s story resonates with so many, she is a white woman. White women have power in society, known as ‘white tears,’ which means that people are more likely to believe them. This is often true in cases where a white woman accuses people of color of certain crimes. This is frightening for non-white people, especially since statistics show that African American women, Indigenous women, trans women or non-binary folks are much more likely to have sexual assault-related crimes. If a white woman cannot get the system to change, who can?
It is okay to close the Twitter app.
Do you want to know why I believe her and so many victims that come forward? I was falsely accused of sexual assault (by the person who assaulted me), but I don’t cry about false accusations that ruin lives. Around five percent of sexual assault allegations are false. If one hundred people come forward, five of them could be lying. But, that number could be less (or more, I suppose), because so many cases go unreported.
Kavanaugh is not on trial. He is in hearings to figure out if he should be a Supreme Court justice. He is not entitled to the fifth amendment right in this case; that he does not have to testify on the grounds that he may incriminate himself. While I do believe he should be tried by jury for his alleged crimes, as far as joining the Supreme Court FOR LIFE, his record on rulings is enough to make anyone doubt his ability to be neutral on cases of the highest court in America.
It is okay to ignore Facebook and not engage in comments for a while.
Have we forgotten what our ‘President’ has been accused of and what he said in the Access Hollywood tapes? Have we forgotten the #metoo movement that took down predators like Harvey Weinstein? Have we forgotten Brock Turner? There were witnesses there, something conservatives scream as a reason we should not believe these women. He got away with virtually no time. His swimming career was more important than victim’s suffering. Have we forgotten that this has happened before?
Our government failed us; they ignored Anita Hill’s voice that Clarence Thomas did the same thing to her. Will we make that mistake with Kavanaugh?
It is okay to take time for yourself.
Hashtag after trending hashtag, #metoo and #WhyIDidntReport, show countless stories of why people– women of different races, non-binary people and men– demand justice for once. No one believed them despite the fact that they did report it, and they live in fear. Reason after reason. Story after story.
If Kavanaugh is supposed to be a by-the-books neutral justice trying to find the most accurate answer, why is he not okay with an FBI investigation? The FBI is supposed to be a neutral third party. Why did he choose not to answer question after question for a lie detector test? Why is he producing ‘evidence’ on a calendar from over 30 years ago? Did he expect the public to believe that he would have penciled in ‘party and sexual assault’ on that calendar?
We should not automatically believe accusers as a knee-jerk reaction, but we should take these allegations seriously. Every single one of them. We should do investigations, trials and exhaust every possible way to find the truth.
Survivors deserve that much. They deserve not to watch this injustice for a justice; that conservatives are willing to overlook these stories for political motives. They deserve to have their voices believed. They deserve to not live every day in fear.
It is okay to take a break.
Disclaimer: This is a blog post in which an opinion is established. We encourage our readers to reach their own conclusions based on reading several articles that support and refute an opinion. The opinions established in this article do not represent the beliefs or ideals held by the Stony Brook Independent.