The minute you type US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's name into Google, an overflow of articles reaches you. Articles supporting him, and articles denouncing him. However, all of these articles center around one particular issue — sexual assault.
Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by a woman when he was 17 years old. More women are coming forward about Mr. Kavanaugh and his indiscretions. Christine Blasey Ford is the woman who first came forward about Mr. Kavanaugh. She is a college professor, and she is alleging that this took place when she was only 15 years old.
Let me just repeat that. She was 15 years old. She couldn't drive. She couldn't vote. She was a child. She was just starting high school. I don't know about you, but when I was 15, all I wanted to do was listen to "15" by Taylor Swift and watch "Pretty Little Liars."
Now, with all the articles out there, we have learned a lot about these two individuals' lives, but I hear people crying out for why it took so long for her to come forward about it.
She was 15.
Since when do 15-year-olds have the mental capacity to discern what they should do after a trauma happens to them? Grown adults, who have fully matured and whose brains have reached full maturity, cannot come to terms with this sometimes. It is a coping mechanism to try and act like it didn't happen because of all the personal negative feelings about what happened. Even without developing posttraumatic stress disorder or anxiety, coping is extremely hard.
She was 15.
The stigmas surrounding reporting a sexual assault are real, and they are incredibly difficult to overcome in order to receive justice for yourself. Being labeled a "whore" or even a "lying whore" is terrible to have to go through. Things such as, "Well, she deserved it," or, "Did you see how she was acting beforehand? I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner," all contribute to a young girl not wanting to come forward with such a heinous act.
She was 15.
The boys in high school when I was 15 were non-stop cracking sex jokes left and right. Most of them in good fun, but the occasional rape joke would jump in there. And no one cared! We were young, and we didn't really know what that word meant. We didn't know it could do harm. But these jokes also trivialized what the rape survivor had to go through. If what happened to that 15-year-old girl would only become a line in a joke, why should she come forward about it?
Even now as she has come out about it, I have seen numerous rape/sexual assault jokes happening on social media and people laughing at the posts. The posts going viral on Twitter and Facebook are gaining popularity as people joke about how Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a respected and beloved female Justice on the United States Supreme Court, said, "Abraham Lincoln grabbed my ass in 1862."
It made me sick.
How could sexual assault be funny? Because sexual assault happening is so incredibly outrageous that making jokes about it is the only way to handle it? What was the mindset behind posting that? That it would make Brett Kavanaugh's accusation seem incredulous because it happened 35 years ago? That it would make it seem incredulous because of the timing of the accusation?
SHE WAS 15.
It takes years to come to terms with sexual assault and be able to move past it. Once you've come to terms with it, you never want to have to deal with that again. You never want to have to be triggered again. You never want to have even the slightest memories of what happened. You never want to see their face, anywhere, again. However, there the face is before you, in a position that will not only prolong your pain but can bring so much more pain to others in that position of power.
The school Kavanaugh attended was an elite school for individuals who would become powerful men in Washington. I didn't come forward about a rape by someone who I believed to be respected by many individuals. Kavanaugh was, and is, someone who has a lot of power, politically or otherwise. The fear of backlash, of retaliation, of being ruined, must have been running through Christine Blasey's veins so much that it just integrated into her DNA.
After a while, it seems silly to bring up what happened years ago. The damage has already been done, and the process of going through hearings and trials and interviews and god-knows-what-else only makes living harder. It only makes continuing on harder. It only makes wanting to find justice for yourself harder. Which it shouldn't, but nevertheless does. Why bring it up and cause yourself more and more pain?
Fear so strong it paralyzes you to go on. Fear that others will have to deal with the same things that you have had, and they will not be heard either. Ford is overcoming that fear and calling attention to the fact that a man who is set to receive one of the highest honors of our nation has taken away one person's being, what makes that person them.
No one wants to talk about this after it happens. Only a select few will know the specifics, as the more people that know the more you have to talk about it and bring up the night that frightens every waking and sleeping moment.
She was 15. Don't forget that.