The Name in Everyone’s Mouth
If Merriam-Webster were to have a “most prominent name of the week” section along with their “word of the day,” this week’s name would be Brett Kavanaugh. There’s no denying that Americans have been bombarded by a variety of articles, street-side posters and even SNL episodes revolving around Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to be a Supreme Court justice. The nomination sparked a nationwide argument of whether or not the man is fit to serve on the highest court in the nation and represent the people’s values. Much of the argument is due to sexual assault allegations by three separate women.
A woman named Christine Blasey Ford claims that Kavanaugh
“put his hand over her mouth and attempted to remove her clothes”
at a high school party when he was 17-years-old. Deborah Ramirez accuses Brett Kavanaugh
of exposing himself to her while at a college party at Yale University.
A third accuser, Julie Swetnick, alleges that she witnessed Kavanaugh
touching women without their consent and trying to intoxicate them during multiple high school parties.
Why Does this Happen?
Unfortunately, whether Brett Kavanaugh is guilty of these crimes or not has taken a back seat due to his recent confirmation of appointment to the Supreme Court. These accusations were not truly taken into consideration essentially because it’s nearly impossible to prove a man guilty for a crime that he committed over thirty years ago. A prolonged amount of time can create what is known in psychology as a “false memory”; a condition in which a mental experience is “mistakenly taken to be a veridical representation of an event.” Although the existence of this condition shouldn’t trivialize or devalue accusers’ stories, it makes the process harder for alleged abusers to be prosecuted.
So, if sexual assault cases are so hard to prove in court, where is the hope for victims? What can we do to make sure their story is heard and valued?
A driving force to get behind an issue this prominent is the Me Too movement. Founded in 2006, this organization helps victims of sexual violence “find pathways to healing” and lets them know that they’re “not alone in their journey.” The movement consists of nearly 17,700,000 women who have reported a sexual assault since 1998. These women find power in sharing these experiences and encouraging one another to report these crimes and prevent things like this from happening to other women.
Instead of seeing this as another loss for the integrity of America, we can choose to see it as a motivating injustice for victims of sexual assault. This incident is a catalyst that informs people of the urgency of victims coming forward, telling their stories and perpetuating the Me Too movement which inspires women around the world to do the same.