Let’s Just Say He’s Innocent

I had a nightmare last night that I was held down and sexually assaulted, and when I tried to speak out, I was mocked, threatened, lied about, and publicly humiliated. And a huge group of white men smiled approvingly while it happened.

“Can’t you just investigate?” I asked. “I’ll let the facts speak for themselves, if only you’ll take the time to look. I have nothing to hide. Do you?”

So they pretended to look, but they were in a hurry. They had other priorities. My pain, my trauma didn’t matter. They didn’t care.

I felt like I was brutalized all over again.

If only I had been taken seriously, if only a full investigation had been done. Even if my attacker was deemed innocent, I would have felt heard. But that’s not what happened. These men didn’t care about me in the face of their agenda.

Let’s just say Kavanaugh is pure as the driven snow. (We’ll never know, now.) Why not take the time for a full investigation, then? What harm would it do? In fact, it would do a great deal of good.

Because, today, I’m every woman who has ever been assaulted. I just want to be listened to, with respect. I want the world to acknowledge that what happened to me matters. Couldn’t Kavanaugh’s inevitable confirmation have waited a bit longer for a thorough investigation so that sexual assault victims the world over could feel acknowledged? What harm would that have done?

Before any justice is appointed, we all should be justly taken into consideration. That’s it. That’s all.

And that’s what didn’t happen. Instead, every aye vote felt like a stab to the vagina. Rest assured that we will all bleed our way to the voting booth.

Shame on all of you who were so busy praying that you’d get a judge that would vote your way that you were willing to step on millions of women to do so. Shame. You have shined a light on the darkness of your soul, and none of us will ever be the same.

https _upload.wikimedia.org_wikipedia_commons_thumb_d_db_Wikipedia_scale_of_justice_2.svg_631px-Wikipedia_scale_of_justice_2.svg

“He’s Always Been Good to Me”

After Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, all these people came out of the woodwork to say how nice Brett Kavanaugh had always been to them. I’m glad to hear it. But what has that got to do with her testimony?

It’s the same after someone becomes a spree killer. “He was always so quiet. He paid his rent on time. He used to hold the door open for me.”

Humans are complex, folks. The fact that Kavanaugh volunteered at a soup kitchen does not absolve him from any crimes he may also have committed. And it certainly does not mean that he couldn’t possibly have committed crimes. Character references only get you so far. Charles Manson got more fan mail than any other prisoner in American history. That doesn’t make him a Boy Scout.

I’m really glad that Brett Kavanaugh isn’t the devil incarnate. I hope he has many opportunities to help little old ladies cross the street. We need that in this world.

But do I believe that at least once in his life, his did a horrible, unforgivable, unacceptable thing, and because of that a woman’s life was changed for the worse? Yes. Yes, I do.

Until we make it crystal clear that such behavior is unacceptable, that all the soup kitchens on earth won’t make up for it, there will be no reducing the amount of sexual assault in this society.

Boys must be taught that no means no. It’s that simple. Even my dog understands it.

And just so we’re clear, a yes that changes into a no is also a no. And an intoxicated yes is a no. It’s about respect. Respect for others and respect for yourself. If you can’t follow those simple rules, you should expect consequences, no matter how nice you are most of the time. Sorry to disappoint you.

I’m reminded of something my late boyfriend used to say. “You can pour all the syrup on it that you want, but that don’t make it a pancake.”

Pancake

Like this blog? Then you’ll love this book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Sitting Beside Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

Yesterday morning, I’m sure I knew on some level that the hearings regarding Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged assault of Christine Blasey Ford were about to begin. But I pushed that out of my mind. I mowed my lawn. I vacuumed. I took a bath and got ready for work. It was a typical day for me. At least that’s what I was allowing myself to pretend.

Driving to work at 2 p.m., I could no longer maintain that comforting level of dissociation. I listen to NPR on my commute, and the hearings were still in full force. By that time, I was listening to an outraged, belligerent Brett Kavanaugh.

I tried to keep an open mind. If I were falsely accused, I’d be furious, too. If people were ruining my reputation on national TV, I’d probably show my a$$ a little, too. And guilty or innocent, I’m willing to concede that the man has been through a lot.

Here’s the thing that I couldn’t ignore. When he was asked if he’d urge the president to allow the FBI to investigate, he refused. If you’re truly innocent, what do you have to hide? Why wouldn’t you allow a bevy of professionally trained law enforcement officers look in to the situation? If you’re innocent, the FBI would help you prove that, without a shadow of a doubt, and then you could waltz into your life-long Supreme Court appointment, vindicated, with nary a bad stench wafting behind your judicial robes.

He talked about a Democratic conspiracy. He talked about the revenge of the Clintons. But he did not want an FBI investigation, which would surely expose those things. True conspiracies are rather easy to expose. Why wouldn’t he be calling for proof? I sure as heck would, if someone were trashing my good name.

As I arrived at work, I knew that I’d have to hear Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony as well. So I pulled up a Youtube video of it, and to my horror, it was more than 4 hours long. But I had to watch it all.

Okay, I admit I fast forwarded through the lunch break, in which the cameras were trained on empty chairs. Same with the 15 minute break. But still. That was a lot of testimony.

I felt obligated to listen, with a critical ear. Fair’s fair. But it was a hard thing to hear.

And after all that I heard, I believe her.

If she were lying, why would she risk exposure by urging further investigation? If she were lying, why would she risk failing a polygraph test (which apparently she cried all the way through for good measure)? She had so much to lose by coming forward. She’s lost her home and her anonymity and her safety. Even if someone were paying her off, it would never be enough.

So as the testimony wore on, I found myself imagining that I was sitting beside her, holding her hand. Because what she did was incredibly brave, and no doubt terrifying. I’m sure millions of women who watched were sitting beside her in spirit, too. Because she was speaking for all of us. #WhyIDidntReport

If the Republicans ram Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination through without further investigation, I think historians will see this as the point when our democracy officially died.

This country is standing on a very dark and ominous precipice. No matter which way this goes, we’re never going to be the same.

Ominous

Check out my refreshingly positive book for these depressingly negative times. http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

#WhyIDidntReport

These are very triggering times, boys and girls. And they should be. They should be. Because Trump’s piss-poor attitude about Christine Blasey Ford is just a reflection of our general cultural ignorance regarding the subject of sexual assault and abuse.

One of the most outrageous things to come out of Trump’s pie-hole (and let’s admit that that bar is already set pretty freakin’ low) is, “Why didn’t somebody call the FBI 36 years ago?”

Um… because the FBI doesn’t deal with the abuse of traumatized teenagers? Because 36 years ago, nobody gave a shit about girls being sexually assaulted? Because to this day, it’s an uphill battle to get justice in these situations?

Gee, I dunno. Why on earth didn’t she report Kavanaugh 36 years ago?

Let me jump on the bandwagon with the thousands of others out there who are attempting to patiently explain #WhyIDidntReport.

Forty-Three years ago, when I was 11 years old, my stepfather began sexually abusing me. This went on for two years, until, at age 13, I broke a board across his knee and told him that if he ever touched me again, I’d kill him. And he knew I meant it. I knew I meant it. I’ve never been so certain of anything in my entire life. He never touched me again.

That was the closest I ever came to justice. Other than that, he got off scot-free. And he didn’t do me the courtesy of dying until I was 27, so I could have reported. But I didn’t. Here are some of the millions of reasons why:

  • I was a good girl, taught to respect my elders. He was the adult in the situation, so even though what he was doing felt awful, to my young mind, it must be right. Right?

  • I was 21 years old before it occurred to me that what he did wasn’t my fault. No one ever told me that. (It’s not your fault, either, by the way.)

  • I was afraid that if I spoke up, I’d be taken away from my mother and thrown into foster care, where the abuse would continue, this time by strangers.

  • I didn’t want to bother anyone. It’s not polite to rock the boat.

  • I was afraid that if my stepfather went to jail, we would become even poorer than we already were, and we were living in a tent at the time.

  • I didn’t want my mother to get into trouble.

  • Because I was just a kid, ill equipped to take on the whole world.

  • I didn’t want the world to know my humiliation.

  • I didn’t understand how the law worked.

  • I saw on TV how women who went to court about these things where treated like whores and emotionally abused by the defense lawyers.

  • I was shy.

  • I had such low self-esteem I didn’t think I deserved justice.

  • I didn’t want to think about it.

  • I wanted it all to go away.

  • When I told my mother, she said I was “making too much of it.”

  • When I told his adult son, he didn’t do anything.

  • When I told a counselor at school, he didn’t do anything.

  • I was all alone in this.

  • Most of my female friends had been abused at some point, too. They didn’t report, either.

  • Because as time wore on, I knew I was less and less credible.

  • Because it would be my word against his, and he was a white male.

  • Because attitudes like Trumps are the rule, not the exception, and because of that, we get Supreme Court Judges like Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh.

I could go on and on. But if you are the kind of ignorant asshole who doesn’t feel that all of the above is enough, then there’s no convincing you. So I’m done.

IMG_3449
Given the subject matter, I felt that only a self-portrait would do. But this was an extremely emotional photo to take.

A big thanks to StoryCorps for inspiring this blog and my first book. http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5