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What Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Tells Women

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 Both Kavanaugh and Ford gave emotional testimonies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27th.

Both Kavanaugh and Ford gave emotional testimonies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27th.

Photo Credit: Matt McClain and Erin Schaff

Photo Credit: Matt McClain and Erin Schaff

Both Kavanaugh and Ford gave emotional testimonies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27th.

Sofi Serio, Editor-In-Chief

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The #MeToo movement has brought down some of the most powerful men in entertainment, sports and news by allegations of sexual misconduct, assault and rape. With it, this country has begun to approach claims of sexual abuse in a new way. However, after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, people are beginning to wonder if the talk is doing enough.

This past month, Christine Blasey Ford, who knew then appointed Judge Brett Kavanaugh in high school, came forward with allegations that he had attempted to rape her while they were at a party in high school. Ford, who has a PhD in psychology and teaches at the University of Palo Alto, calmly answered personal questions for upwards of 3 hours while millions watched the testimony unfold across the country.

Dr. Ford put everything on the line. Already having built a successful life and career for herself, she had nothing to gain.  In her opening statement, she remarked:

“I am here not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”

Republicans argued that Democratic senators used the allegations brought forth to delay and ultimately halt Kavanaugh’s nomination ahead of the midterm elections. They worried his conservative-leaning tendencies would reverse critical Supreme Court cases like Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage.

However, as Senior Olivia Bennett put it, “I think she was doing what she thought was best for the country, she didn’t have partisan views in mind.”

This isn’t the first instance in which allegations of sexual misconduct have been brought before the Supreme Court. In 1991, Anita Hill, who worked with then Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that Thomas had repeatedly shared inappropriate sexual comments with her while they were working together. She also claimed that on several occasions, he made unwanted sexual comments about himself towards her.

The detailed descriptions that Hill shared before the Senate in 1991 were eerily reminiscent of the manner in which Ford conducted herself in front of the Senate last week. Both women were credible, well composed and outright courageous for putting their careers on the line when they testified in front of a worldwide audience.

However, both testimonies ended in defeat as once again, our country turned our backs on what was morally right, and instead gave in to meek political pressure.

Apparently, in the United States, you can have multiple allegations of attempted rape and sexual assault and still be elected to serve in the nation’s highest court.

So while the #MeToo movement makes strides towards educating people on sexual assault and how to prevent it, the United States still approaches sexual assault with a 20th century attitude, not a 21st century one.

As Bennett notes, this decision especially delivers a blow to women in this country who have felt the reverberations of sexual assault.

She states, “I think that Brett Kavanaugh being confirmed tells young women that their voices aren’t being heard, and it kind of reaffirms why women are afraid to come out and say that they’ve been sexually assaulted.”

1992, the year after Anita Hill’s hearing, was declared the Year of the Woman, as many women got involved in politics for the first time. With the 2018 midterm elections fast approaching, the number of women running for the House of Representatives has hit an all time high. It looks like 2019 might be a new Year of the Woman.

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What Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Tells Women