My family all watched President Trump nominate Brett Kavanaugh as his Supreme Court pick this past summer and originally, I liked him.
Although I'd been hoping for a female nominee, Kavanaugh seemed to have a respectable record and, most importantly, pro-life beliefs. I had voted for Trump because I knew that overturning Roe v. Wade was a possibility under his leadership and I hoped he would grow more presidential post-election.
Although Trump has not, in my opinion, grown more presidential, and I have repeatedly questioned whether casting my vote for him was worth the moral compromise I made, Kavanaugh helped give me hope. He was, or so it seemed, a Christian man with good values. He loved his family, had grown up in a Christian faith, seemed to have been a fair judge, and celebrated the women who had contributed to his life in his speech. That celebration of women, especially his mother, was my favorite part of his nomination. Considering everything that had happened in the wake of #MeToo, valuing women seemed an incredibly important part of anyone wishing for a leadership position in this country.
Then Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward with the claim that an extremely drunk Kavanaugh had assaulted her at a party while they were both teenagers. And then a second woman came forward with a similar allegation.
At first, I was tempted not to believe them.
The timing seemed almost too perfect for the people who were against Kavanaugh's nomination in the first place. What better way to assure his destruction than making a he-said-she-said out of his entire Supreme Court nomination? The women would be deemed 'brave' by enough people that they might not lose too much, if anything, although the reports of threats against them have proved otherwise. The man would fall, whether he admitted to it or denied it, because enough people would believe the woman or, at the least, err on the side of caution, although the Republicans don't seem to be doing that. No matter what, it would be a mess, and that's exactly what the people against Kavanaugh would want.
But the older I get, which isn't saying much because I'm only twenty-one, the more people I meet who have survived some form of sexual misconduct, assault, and/or abuse. I know four women and one man who've endured a range of horrible realities, many of which have affected the rest of their lives. Their stories are their own, of course, but knowing them and their stories change the way I view the allegations made against Kavanaugh.
I might be tempted not to believe them if I didn't know anyone with similar stories. But I believe every person I know who has suffered from the inappropriate, wrongful actions of another person. Why should I not give these women whom I don't know the same opportunity of belief?
Of course, People do lie about sexual assault.
There has been wrongful imprisonments because of lying "victims" that have ruined men's lives. The justice system should always investigate to ensure that the truth has been discovered. But look up #WhyIDidntReport and you'll find that countless men and women have suffered because our justice system did nothing to help them after their assault. There are many more free assailants than there are wrongfully imprisoned.
So when it comes to the allegations against Kavanaugh, we must be cautious.
We must allow for testimony and whatever evidence there may be. The fact that 30 years has passed since these alleged assaults doesn't mean that they're unimportant. People can change, of course, but that doesn't mean they always do. Perhaps they just cover up the ugly parts.
Or perhaps this is a big, political game and the allegations are a web of lies. I don't know.
We can't know— not until we hear the testimonies and see the evidence.
For now, let us do what we can for the ordinary people who we know are telling the truth about their own painful stories and who we can actually help. Let us make a safer world so that nothing like this ever happens again.