To open up and tell truth about the most difficult secret there is to tell potentially costs us everything. Dr. Ford may not testify to what Brett Kavanaugh allegedly did to her at the party he now claims no remembrance of at the Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday. There was no discussion with her, only the indication that she might be sitting at the same table with her alleged attacker while she testifies.
And now, understandably so, Dr. Ford’s appearance before the Committee is in jeopardy. She’s reportedly asked for an FBI investigation before testifying which should happen without her asking for it. And yet, the Republican members of the committee, all men, some of whom were present during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings when Anita Hill testified, seem to be hell-bent on treating Dr. Ford in the same disrespectful manner as they treated Professor Hill.
You see, we’ve been here before, in this oh so shameful place where once again a woman is not believed. In the case of the Thomas hearings, we watched as lawmakers interrogated Anita Hill, a survivor of sexual harassment, as she recounted her experiences with Clarence Thomas who was nominated to serve on the Supreme Court. The highest court in our country ought to be a place where predators aren’t welcome. But as we saw all too clearly during the Thomas confirmation hearings, the good old boys club is alive and well. They protect their own. Always.
The men in Congress who have dismissed Dr. Ford do so at their peril. Their excuses are the same, pathetic and indicative of the misogyny that gives them purpose and meaning. They’re nothing without that belief. It guides everything they do, their decisions, their votes, their policies, all of which negatively impact women, and children, furthering on patriarchy, and furthering on abuse. It’s bad enough that we experience this growing up in our families, but to have Congress double down as well instead of protecting us? It’s telling the truth and then watching the walls go up and the doors shut tightly in our faces.
If Dr. Ford’s story isn’t convenient, then so be it. What she experienced that night has stayed with her forever, impacting every aspect of her life since. To come out now was a decision that she didn’t make lightly. She’s not doing this on a lark. She’s doing it because she wants the country to know what this man did to her at that party. That he sexually assaulted her. That she was able to hide and finally get away from him. That there was a witness, perhaps more she doesn’t even know about. That she told her therapist, her husband, her friends, all before Kavanaugh was ever known to be on the nomination list. And, that she passed a polygraph test given to her by a retired FBI agent.
It’s not a youthful indiscretion, sexual assault, attempted or otherwise. It’s a crime. Then, and now. She survived. And now she and her family are reportedly in hiding after allegedly receiving death threats. And now she has to deal with a committee full of men who didn’t believe Professor Hill and clearly don’t believe her and are all too willing to create a scene where all of that will be on display. Instead of a hearing to receive testimony, it will be the emotional equivalent of a snuff film.
Just how voyeuristic are these assholes? Will they get a thrill out of seeing her sit at that table with him? The act alone is one of governmental intimidation. And as much as I want her to tell her story, I don’t want her to have to experience any more abuse. But if Grassley, et. al. have their way, that’s exactly what they have in store for her if she testifies.
What’s needed now is an outcry so great that we stop these pieces of shit in their tracks. We cannot have lawmakers who go after women who report abuse. They cannot be permitted to use the power and authority of the Congress to openly abuse a survivor of any kind, sexual or otherwise. We have a sitting president with umpteen sexual assault accusations of his own. These women have been openly and publicly ridiculed by this man and yet he was still elected, a fact that tells me that not only have we not progressed past any of this nonsense, but that we’re still neck deep in predatory behavior whether it comes from strangers, friends, our partners, family, employers, law enforcement, or the government.
You’d think there would be at least one area in our lives that isn’t filled with this bullshit, but apparently, there isn’t. Sexual harassment/abuse at the government level has caused several lawmakers to either step down or choose not to run for reelection. And as more survivors of trauma-based mind control come forward, we’re finding out just how insidious this is within our government. These survivors are often born to parents who sell them into sexual slavery while they’re children and are subjected to horrors too difficult to even believe, yet it’s happening nonetheless.
So, to watch this unfold again in Congress is almost too much to bear. I reach out with my heart and my soul to Dr. Ford and to all who have experienced sexual abuse/assault/harassment of any kind. We’re a community, a family, brought together by pain and struggle. We stand with Dr. Ford and all who step into the light.
We’re in difficult times now with a president who acts as a continuous trigger. I’m unable to even hear his voice but muting doesn’t seem to work anymore either. I await his disgusting comments that will no doubt come. The more he’s allowed to speak, to tweet, the more damaging the effect will be. For some reason, he’s going to send out an emergency alert text, now postponed until next month. If they’re smart, which no one is, they’ll push it out until he’s no longer in office. There are too many survivors who will be unable to handle a text from him on their phones. Turning it off won’t help because it will be waiting for us when we turn the damn thing back on again.
But that’s the thing with predators. They keep coming. Even when they know they’re not welcome. They’ve found a place in our society, one that protects and covets them instead of prosecuting and imprisoning them. Even our language protects them. Spousal abuse, child abuse, all terms for assault and/or attempted murder, yet when it’s between partners or if it’s our children we call it by something less. It’s not assault, it’s abuse. It’s not attempted murder, it’s abuse.
And as for sexual assault? What do we really call something that does far more than physical damage? Rape doesn’t really describe it. It doesn’t describe the endless fear and panic we experience when a man comes too close, when our husbands come up behind us while we’re at the sink in the kitchen, putting their arms around us in a loving embrace and we shudder and panic in remembrance, in fear.
What do we do when our boundaries are so damaged that we question everything we think and believe, even the most obvious and agreed upon truths? What do we do when we don’t know how to relate to others without experiencing great fear? What do we do when we see the world through terrified eyes, afraid of loud or sharp sounds, and quick movements? Smells can trigger, such as men’s cologne. My husband doesn’t wear any. It was too much for me.
All it takes is a look or a tone and I’m there. And I thought I was doing fairly well until the last election happened. Now, not so much, particularly after reading that the men on the Judiciary Committee want Dr. Ford at the table with her alleged perpetrator.
The family, the kids, the career, the hobbies, it’s a lovely picture, no? But that may be all that it is, a picture, telling us nothing about who this guy really is. The country needs to have some answers now, particularly when the picture has been crafted to show something else.
Enough is enough. Let the truth come out.
Originally published at www.imsteppingaside.com on September 19, 2018.