Brett Kavanaugh — who is days away from being appointed to Supreme Court Justice — has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, when he was 17. Although I was horrified to hear this news, it is sad to say I was not shocked.
It seems everyday or week there is a new celebrity, politician or otherwise successful person getting accused of sexual misconduct or rape. It is like almost all of us have become desensitized to allegations of rape — Kavanaugh is just another example of how numb society has become.
Although Kavanaugh has denied the allegations, an investigation has begun. Ford and her family have relocated because of all the backlash and death threats they have received. Millions of people have tuned in to see what will happen — all of whom have different opinions of the situation.
Even though so much attention has been given to this case, the FBI has refused to get involved. Even worse, thousands of people are defending Kavanaugh, and not only blame Ford, but question her validity and why she would come out with allegations now, when this took place in the 80s.
I am disgusted that people believe rape and sexual misconduct are a new phenomenon, or that it is the woman’s fault and question why she did not come out with accusations earlier.
“How dare she tarnish the career of this successful man," and “Why now?” are sentiments felt by not a minority, but rather thousands of people who have come up with their own conspiracy theories. They spend their time trying to invalidate Ford rather than hear her out.
The tragedy is that we as a society not only encourage and cultivate a rape culture but we invalidate and silence those who are abused, assaulted and raped.
Ford is not the only person who has been assaulted. Even before Kavanaugh, the #MeToo movement and the wave of allegations and attention given to sexual misconduct, there were and continue to be instances of assault and rape that happen every day in small towns, big towns, schools, prisons — everywhere. Although not identical to Ford's story, millions of people have stories of assault and abuse.
What we as a society often fail to realize, understand or pay attention to is how the victim feels. To be assaulted leaves victims feeling humiliated, ashamed, depressed, anxious and much more. To then have to reveal that trauma to others becomes incredibly difficult and painful. The truth is, when society ostracizes women like Anita Hill and Ford — calls them weak and liars — we silence the thousands of others who have been abused and assaulted. Knowing how people who allege sexual abuse and assault are treated by society, why would someone tell the public, go to court and try to get justice?
Rape is the worst thing to be accused of. It is a vile, heinous and selfish act. It leaves those assaulted with a lifetime of trauma and pain. We as a society need to focus on protecting those who come out and tell their stories. To be assaulted is humiliating and leaves one feeling powerless. For a woman or man to speak out, especially in front of the world, takes courage and unfathomable strength.
Stick up for those who risk so much to let their truth be known. Listen to those who have been victimized — listen to Ford, hear her, fight for the FBI to be active in the investigation, make your voice heard, do not be complicit, do not be a bystander.
When you fail one, you fail millions. You not only fail past victims, but you fail future girls who may one day be in that position and will be scared because they still live in a world where society chooses not to hear their voices. Do not fail them.
Breana Omana is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies and minoring in political science. Her column, "Left Brain, Right Brain," runs on alternate Tuesdays.
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