After the current events of the Kavanaugh hearing, my blood is boiling at specific public opinions about how victims should come forward with their personal trauma. I've heard and seen comments online and in person about how Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is most likely lying because the events of her story are from decades ago and that if it really happened, she would have addressed it when it happened or much sooner.
Shame on this narrow-minded thinking and this victim blaming, because the complexities of trauma, the mind, and society are much deeper than this shallow surface-minded argument.
Before continuing, I'd like to clarify that I believe the justice system has as much right to believe the "attacker" as the "victim." The purpose of trial hearings are to determine who is right and wrong, because as many have stated in defense of Kavanaugh, there have been cases in which the person claiming to have been raped was actually lying.
I'm not saying that women are always automatically correct, but what I am saying is that claims of this nature should not be discarded or scoffed at either. The same way you'd believe Kavanaugh has a possibility of being innocent, so too should the belief lie with Ford. It's all about equality. You can also feel free to take sides in whom you think is correct, but don't go around victim-blaming or summarizing trauma to be as easily dealt with as some think it is.
The trauma of rape is one that you would never wish upon anyone. Anyone. It is a gross and inhumane act that tears apart the life of the victim. Plenty of people who are raped do not admit that they were for fear of public perception. Even now, women and men alike may not come forward because they don't want pity, or they don't have the energy to see their attacker again in a court of law or anywhere else. Some people close themselves off from the world to move forward, others do press charges, and others seek help without taking a case to court — everyone deals with this differently.
If you consider the time in which Dr. Ford lived in during the occurrence of her alleged rape, there was a lot of stigma around sex. Even now, as society progresses, there is still a lot of stigma around sex. You cannot possibly say that she should have come forward 35 years ago because it was an even more difficult subject to talk about. You didn't want to be labeled as the girl that was raped because unfortunately, people would see you as broken (something people still see victims as, now). Around this decade, with more prominent women's marches, #MeToo movements, and other events that have propelled the voice of victims and women forward, it is easier to be more empowered to come forward with cases like these, but it doesn't make it any easier.
Furthermore, is it really convenient that she would come forward now? Allow me to put this in perspective for some of you skeptics. 35 years ago, you were raped at a party and left permanently traumatized. You tried to move on with your life knowing that your attacker was still out there and that the public might not believe you in a court of law. Don't believe what I'm saying? Look what happened to Anita Hill in 1991... exactly.
You try to make a name for yourself: go to college, make friends, start a family, become a doctor. You are moving on with your life, but unfortunately, so is your attacker. You keep track of his accomplishments because you want to see where he's going with his pitiful life and see if he might fall, possibly hoping he will. Then, he gets nominated to be a Supreme Court justice by the president himself and your world crumbles.
How? How can someone who committed such a disgusting act be nominated to be in the highest court of the land? Where is the justice for what he did? There isn't... unless you come forward. You relive your trauma over and over again knowing that someone so heinous will be preaching about justice in the highest court position. After debating it, you finally decide that enough is enough, and you cannot possibly allow someone like this to win after the trauma he inflicted.
If you even remotely sympathized with that, then you understand. It's not a matter of convenience, it's a matter of justice. Someone who did an injustice like raping someone else CAN NOT be preaching about justice. Simple. It's not complicated.
Now that I put Ford's scenario into perspective, can you understand her a little more? Can you imagine the pain she went through? Can you imagine how her heart must have sank the moment President Trump named his nominee? The pain is unbearable. This is why I choose to give Dr. Ford as much belief as Kavanaugh.
For those saying I haven't justified Kavanaugh, then you are wrong. Again, it has been 35 years, he has been nominated just recently and it could be seen as a convenient time to come forward; however, these same reasons work for Ford. It's all about putting yourself in the shoes of both the alleged victim and alleged attacker. In the case of Kavanaugh v. Ford, the arguments used for one can also be used to defend the other, but it's all about how the facts align, how the story unfolds, how each person reacts.
The trial (which has already happened), should have given you a clearer head of who is right and who is wrong. Still, it's up to the court to determine innocence. Of course, we want the innocent party to come out on top, but let's stop assuming disbelief on women.
There's always this automatic shame and disbelief cast on women when they come forward with charges of rape, especially if these charges are aimed at an official of high status. High status does not mean that people are somehow better than us, they are just like us and are capable of the exact same things as others. Start taking cases of this nature with seriousness, with interest, and look at the facts presented to determine a personal, well-thought-out opinion. Don't assume.
If we #BelieveSurvivors, we aren't saying that we automatically deem those men or women to be innocent. It means that we believe that they an equal right of telling the truth as the opposing party. Unless you're admitting to being close-minded and casting judgment without presentation of facts, then maybe it's time that the skeptics believe too.
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