Let me start by saying that I believe Christine Blasey Ford. I wish I could have been alive to believe Anita Hill. Perhaps if she had been believed we wouldn’t be in this position. As Trump announced Kavanaugh’s nomination for the Supreme Court and swore to his spotless record, did anyone else think to themselves that it was only a matter of time until the accusers came forward?
Because I did. We live in a world made up of people (men) who haven’t been caught yet. In every other widely-publicized industry, with the accusations come the purging of the guilty from society. Let’s name some names in case you’ve forgotten: Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Bill Cosby, Matt Lauer, Larry Nassar, Donald J. Trump (not purged, but should be), etc. The list could quite literally go on forever, because according to RAINN, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds in the United States. If you think this statistic is just a number or irrelevant on this campus, I ask you to go to the Old Gold & Black website and read about why the fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon was suspended by the office of the Dean of Students.
The conversation that has risen from the Kavanaugh accusations is centered around the idea that, because Brett Kavanaugh was a teenager and was emotionally immature, he should be resolved of his mistakes. What this tells me, a young person in college, is that the actions of my male peers have no consequence. That boys will be boys, and any harm that comes to me or my female peers is simply an unfortunate result of circumstance. The way that the “adults” of this country are publicly handling an accusation of sexual assault by a prominent public figure on which they wish to bestow great power, tells me that my safety, mental and physical health is the least of their concerns. And why should I matter? I simply exist to destroy the life of the next excused accused.
With the #metoo movement and sexual assault continually at the forefront of the media, we constantly see how victims are treated when they come forward. The world watched as Anita Hill came forward and failed. The world still watches as Christine Blasey Ford comes forward, is mocked by political cartoons, receives death threats, and is placed on Twitter blast by the President of the United States. It is no surprise that more people (women) don’t come forward. Look at what happens when they do. History has a tendency to tell women that they do not matter. That if they talk too much they’re too opinionated. If they don’t speak out, if they don’t come forward, then it’s their own fault.
Let me be absolutely clear: the only cause of rape or sexual assault is rapists and assaulters.
Now a lot of people (men) probably won’t like the large generalizations I make in this article. “Not all men are rapists,” they whine. It seems like they want recognition, an award for not sexually assaulting anyone, for achieving the bare minimum. As if expecting men not to assault women is already asking a lot, too much even.
Thinking these things, and then saying these things results in my being labeled as a “feminazi.” Is it really so outlandish, so preposterous for a woman to refuse to be complacent in her own inequality, oppression and dehumanization? Women are expected to know better. To not do anything that would dare draw attention to ourselves. Not to flirt in case it gives the man the wrong idea. Not wear short skirts to school in case it distracts a male. Not to share our opinions, because being able to express our thoughts and feelings in a healthy way is “too much”. The problem isn’t women. It isn’t what we say, or how we act, or what we wear. The problem is men not taking responsibility for the society they created, and continue to perpetuate. My name is Catherine Regen and I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.