Localizing The Kavanaugh Hearing

As I am sure you are aware, Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford were questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday about Ford’s allegations that he sexually assaulted her. I am not interested in re-hashing the ‘debate’ about whether the allegations are true, because it was clear that few senators in the room had an interest in getting to the bottom of the matter.

Even though many GOP senators were convinced that Ford was part of a Clintonite conspiracy to sabotage Trump, by all accounts (even Fox News’) her testimony was believable, clear and direct. In addition, there is an ongoing, albeit limited, FBI investigation into all ‘credible’ allegations against the Supreme Court nominee.

A key part of Kavanaugh’s testimony centered around his drinking habits. He acknowledged that he “liked beer” and he “still likes beer,” but he also frequently asserted that his attendance at a rigorous school means he could not possibly have drunk frequently and that his elite educational background meant he had impeccable character. In other words, he lied. And every single Wake Forest student knows first-hand that he lied.

It’s no secret that Wake Forest is one of those elite, private schools where drinking culture shows itself everywhere. Whether it’s Shorty’s or lounge parties, there are plenty of opportunities to integrate drinking into your routine without leaving campus. If you’re in a fraternity or sorority — as many at Wake Forest are — it is even more likely that drinking is a regular part of your life. It is ridiculous and downright dangerous to ignore the consequences of those actions.

Drinking culture is, and has always been, tied to violence (particularly against women) and Brett Kavanaugh knows that. There were several references to drinking and sexual exploits in his yearbook, and more recently he was questioned by police in relation to a bar fight. Ford’s testimony was also about an assault by a drunk and stumbling Kavanaugh. Her story resonated with thousands of women on social media.

For a variety of reasons, women who experience sexual assaults on college campuses rarely contact authorities. According to the Crime and Fire report from campus police, there were a total of eight sexual crimes reported to Wake Forest campus police as well as four instances of dating violence last year. On the other hand, surveys show that about a quarter of women are sexually assaulted in college.

Do you really believe that only eight people were sexually assaulted at Wake Forest in 2017? Ask yourself why dozens of women on our campus don’t report traumatic events to the police.

If you really believe that Brett Kavanaugh couldn’t have got too drunk and tried to force himself on Christine Blasey Ford, ask yourself why you believe an elite man with a college alcohol problem, not a woman who has faced death threats just for speaking out.

Christine Blasey Ford’s story is unfortunately not unique. We cannot be afraid to talk about what happens when access to alcohol is combined with a high-stress academic environment. Ask yourself: if Christine Blasey Ford went to Wake Forest, would you believe her?