Still Wondering Why Women Don't Report Sexual Assault?
The New US Supreme Court Justice And Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
Why Aren't Women Listened To?
Like so many others, I am incredibly unhappy that Brett Kavanaugh has been officially sworn in as the latest United States Supreme Court Justice. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified about her experiences with Kavanaugh, the Federal Bureau of Investigation looked into the allegations, and the end result is that a man who may not have been properly investigated is now sitting on the highest court in the land.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that a woman's word about a sexual assault having happened seems to hold no weight.
There are reasons why out of every 1000 people charged with sexual assault, only 4 are successfully convicted, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). Part of that is women simply being questioned for what they're wearing, their behaviors and who they were or are in that moment of the sexual assault allegedly occurring. Part of that is simply a desire by women to try and forget the whole thing even occurred in the first place.
There's also fear of nothing happening.
You don't want to relive what happened to you in court in hopes that the person being charged with sexual assault will be punished appropriately. You don't want to relive that sense of being violated at your most basic level or that feeling that the hottest shower on the planet won't ever erase the sense of hands touching where you didn't want, or worse, those same hands restraining you so that your assaulter could do what he or she wanted.
You don't want to be mocked, as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was by none other than President Trump, in the aftermath of your testimony, which you've always been told was the right thing to do.
He has suggested she should remember far more about the alleged incident than she testified to, and at one point reportedly tweeted that had the sexual assault occurred, Dr. Blasey Ford's parents would have reported the matter to the police.
News flash: even though parents should immediately report if their child reveals inappropriate behavior has occurred, not all parents do, for a range of reasons. There are significant fears that the aftermath of reporting sexual assault can put the person who reports through the wringer, which it does, and can cause a great deal of strife within a family, which it can.
Behaving like this means the matter can get swept away, like it doesn't matter.
While we must live by the idea that people have to be "innocent until proven guilty,"it's difficult to watch testimonies like Dr. Blasey Ford's and its aftermath and feel as though your voice matters when it comes to sexual assault. The follow up investigation into Dr. Blasey Ford's testimony was little more than a joke, at least as reported by several media outlets; why weren't Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey Ford interviewed, for instance?
I was interviewed by a victims' compensation board a number of years ago regarding a sexual assault I had gone through at a very young age. While the questions were for the most part pertinent, and this was most definitely not a criminal trial I was testifying at, questions about my behaviors while on dates or in my relationships with members of the opposite sex made me unbearably uncomfortable, and I could not help but think how much worse this would feel if I was facing down the man who assaulted me across a courtroom.
Dr. Blasey Ford testified and while now-Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh was never charged for any crime and almost certainly went through his own brand of hell because of the ordeal of trying to defend himself in a hearing, it seems as though Dr. Blasey Ford might as well have never said anything at all. Did Judge Kavanaugh come out of the experience looking poised and dignified? No, but I suppose if you're being accused by someone of sexual assault that would definitely be upsetting in the extreme. He, too, was mocked for his behavior through this experience.
That said, it was still believed that there was not enough in Dr. Blasey Ford's testimony to justify keeping Judge Kavanaugh from his appointment to the Supreme Court.
While it is understandable that an accusation is not proof of guilt, it's still incredibly disappointing that it would seem that yet again, a woman stepping forward with accusations of sexual assault appears to have been mostly ignored.