For the past two weeks, the name ‘Kavanaugh’ has constantly been in the news. The Kavanaugh trial is one of the most talked about topics on social media, and everyone has their opinions.
So who is Brett Kavanaugh and why is he on trial?
Brett Kavanaugh is an American attorney and serves as a United States Circuit Judge. He was shortlisted as a nominee for the Supreme Court in July, which is when Dr Christine Blasey Ford came forward with allegations; Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when she was fifteen and he was seventeen at a party, back in the 1980s. Two other women also came forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault, but the main trial focused on Ford.
The latest news cycle of the Brett Kavanaugh trial is not easy listening for survivors. In fact, it’s evoked a strong reaction from most women, some weeping, some angry at the injustice, but some defending Kavanaugh, having personally known him for a number of years. The strong reaction the hearing incited in a huge number of women is because a lot of women can relate to Dr Ford, can relate to her powerful and measured words as she relayed her experiences.
There’s no denying that Ford is to be admired for coming forward these many years later and still testifying to the assault.
Sexual assault survivors are frequently told ‘it’s too late, you left it on long, there’s no evidence’ when they don’t report rape immediately. She did something everyone who has suffered at the hands of another have wanted to: bring the perpetrator to justice.
What we can learn from the Kavanaugh trial is that the voices of the supporters of survivors are getting stronger, but so are those who support the accused. All over social media, people who are defending Ford, but it’s impossible to block out the voices of the Kavanaugh supporters, including Donald Trump, the president of the United States. Hearing someone in such high power mocking Ford, the man who is meant to be the face of America, discrediting the survivor and supporting the rapist is the best example as to why we don’t report sexual assault.
‘But Trump is just an idiot’, you say, ‘he says a lot of stupid things’.
Yes, but his supporters are listening, the world has to listen to him, we all have to listen to him because he is one of the most powerful men on this planet, leader of one of the superpower countries. There are a lot of people who listen to him, who voted him in. If not on social media, the news also contains varying degrees of support for both Ford and Kavanaugh. Hearing or reading comments made mainly by men who question Ford’s integrity and the truth behind her words reminds us all that rape is still always followed by a question mark. It doesn’t matter when, where, how we report it, we’re always going to be doubted.
Whilst it’s hard to feel positive when the voices supporting Kavanaugh is overwhelming, the protests and petitions which have come from the trial bring a sense of hope. There are a huge number of signatures and donations being made to stop Kavanaugh from joining the Supreme Court, and there is at least one person replying to the posts and tweets supporting Kavanaugh.
There have been so many voices to squash down Kavanaugh’s frenzied and borderline hysterical statement, picking it apart and turning his words into a mockery.
The powerful image circulating across the internet of people with ’We Believe’ written on their hands in support of Ford leaves a lasting impression. All this shows that there is strength in all these voices and that survivors are not alone when reporting what happened to them.
Even after the #MeToo movement, there are still people out there who refuse to believe allegations made against celebrities and politicians, but there is still a large community out there who will believe survivors. That community gives us all hope, feeling like we’re not alone.