Sexual Assault/Harassment: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Kavanaugh confirmation protestCharles Edward Miller/cc-2.0/Flickr

Cheri Jacobus

With regard to sexual assault and harassment, sadly it seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Serious, credible allegations of a violent incident of sexual assault and attempted rape have been made against Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. The accuser is an accomplished, credible, respected PhD professor in California who also was one of thousands of people who signed a letter from the group Physicians for Human Rights, urging the Trump administration to end the practice of separation of migrant and children from their asylum-seeking parents. She has notes from her psychologist from 2012 where she relayed the sexual assault incident, long before Kavanaugh was in line for SCOTUS, but as his career was taking off, as his alleged victim watched in horror from the sidelines, knowing he would be in a position to make critical decisions that would affect the lives of every woman and girl in his jurisdiction.

Now, seeing him within spitting distance of being able to make even more impactful decisions for every woman and girl in America (as well as all men and boys of every race, creed and economic background), Dr. Christine Blasey Ford contacted her Senator, Diane Feinstein, to alert her to an alleged sexual attack by Kavanaugh decades earlier. Feinstein referred the matter to the FBI.

That Dr. Ford clearly showed she had discussed the matter with her therapist years before rather than creating a new "memory" just as Trump nominated Kavanaugh to the highest court in the land just prior to a dramatic mid-term congressional election that may determine his own fate, should have been more than enough to incite every Senator on the Judiciary Committee to call for -- at a minimum -- a pause in the confirmation proceedings.

As well, every American should be calling for either the Kavanaugh nomination to be withdrawn, or paused.

Instead, Trump is doubling down, preparing to personally destroy the character and credibility of the woman who has accused Kavanaugh of grabbing her, forcing her into a bedroom at a party (he was 17 at the time), pinning her down, covering her mouth with his hand as she tried to scream for help as he tried to take off her clothes against her will. He did this in the presence of another male who now says he has no memory of the incident. Dr. Ford said both young men were inebriated at the time, which is likely why she was able to escape and avoid being raped by Kavanaugh and possibly also by his companion, as he allegedly also threw himself on top of her on the bed.

The Trump White House quickly lined up 65 woman who claim to have known Kavanaugh during his lifetime to say he was a nice guy who would never do such a thing. Much like the statements of support former FOX News VP (and current Trump communications director) Bill Shine elicited from FOX News personalities -- including women talent -- to charge that then FOX News chief Roger Ailes could NEVER have sexually assaulted and harassed women and that former Miss America and long-time FOX host Gretchen Carlson was making it up out of whole cloth, Team Trump has adopted the same sleazy tactic.

Donald Trump, Jr. mocked Dr. Ford on Instagram. Interestingly, his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, was fired from FOX News for sexually harassing co-workers by showing them photos of male genitalia, after being one of the women at FOX who issued public statements in support of Ailes and essentially calling her colleague, Gretchen Carlson, a liar after she came forward about sexual harassment by Ailes and others at FOX.

Merely twisting the arms of women whose jobs and future may be affected by refusing to offer statements of support to offer statements of support because they were NOT sexually harassed or assaulted as a way to discredit the brave women who DO come forward in order to save others from being harmed, is disgraceful. While the men who concoct the campaign of character assassination against the victims will have their own special place in hell, our ire should be directed towards the women who take part in this betrayal of every woman and girl who has suffered at the hands of these men -- the perps and their defenders -- and every woman and girl who will potentially be a victim, as we marginalize the claims and destroy those who dare to speak up.

There is no deadline that says Kavanaugh or any replacement nominee has to be confirmed by the end of this month, next month or before the congressional mid-terms. In light of the several counts of out-and out perjury committed by Kavanaugh for matters unrelated to the sexual assault allegations, it would be a gross dereliction of duty for ANY Senator to not call for a delay.

And as for the women who called Dr. Ford a liar before hearing what she had to say or knowing the details? Shame on you. Deep, lifelong, searing shame on you.

The "Me Too" movement still has a long way to go. We may have been mistaken in believing it has accomplished a long-awaited important goal. In fact, the "Me Too" movement may just be in its infancy.



Cheri Jacobus