Moving on from a sexual assault is somewhat of an arbitrary process. It comes in waves: you can have a few good months followed by a terrible week. But regardless, it is a painful and emotional process.
These past few weeks, the world has watched SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh deny sexual assault allegations. I'm sure I speak for millions of women when I say the process is triggering.
Whether you have experienced sexual assault or know someone who has, sexual assault alters a person. It alters their ability to trust others. It alters their ability to be in social settings. It alters their ability to date. It alters everything. But Kavanaugh reminded me of one of the most painful parts of sexual assault: more often than not, the perpetrator gets to go on and live their life as if nothing happened.
When she was 15, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's life was changed. She experienced a devastating assault that resulted in years of trauma. Yes, she did go on to become a very successful woman, and she was brave enough to come forward and tell her story. But the emotional damage from the assault always lingers. Every victim's recovery process is different. For some people, it can involve pressing charges; for others, it doesn't.
But the fact that Kavanaugh has had no repercussions until now (and honestly there aren't any real repercussions – I'm sadly expecting him to get the nomination) shows how our culture protects rapists. It shows that we question the witness's validity before the suspects. It shows that we question if someone makes up trauma, instead of believing them and encouraging them to tell their story. It shows that our politicians are more concerned with party lines and getting another conservative on the Supreme Court than they are about protecting victims of sexual assault.
These past two weeks I have felt a lot of rage, sadness, confusion, anger, and frustration.
Kavanaugh is a reminder that rape culture is real and that victims are constantly forced to prove that the assault happened.
I know that there are some people out there who make up a sexual assault for money or attention or control (and that is a whole different issue that I am not going to get into right now).