Political Focus: Why is it so hard for us to believe women’s stories of sexual assault?

Ben Hume, Staff Reporter

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Brett Kavanaugh is in the news once again, and this time our favorite Supreme Court nominee is being accused by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford of sexual assault when both attended a party in the 1980s. This would not be the first blemish on Kavanaugh’s record, but it is the first one to really slow his hearings down. Up until this point, Republican senators had Kavanaugh on a fast track to confirmation for the Supreme Court, but now are at least discussing taking time to hear Ford testify.

It seemed a majority of senators were close to an agreement on giving Ford a fair hearing, with Democrats pushing hard and most Republicans hoping to gain the support of more women by giving Ford her due time. But just as things finally began to settle into place, President Donald Trump took to his favorite platform and began railing on Dr. Ford, attempting to discredit her accusations through a variety of common victim blaming tactics.

His words echo many of those who did not believe the women that eventually started the #MeToo movement in October 2017. They are nothing new to the ears of sexual assault victims. Will this finally be the time that an accusation of sexual assault stops a rapist before he attains his position, or will Kavanaugh take his Republican majority in the Senate and never look back?

In an NPR interview on All Things Considered, a friend of Ford spoke in her defense, saying, “I know a lot of people that things like this have happened to and they don’t talk about it. You’re embarrassed and ashamed and you don’t think people will believe you. So…I don’t think it’s unusual at all that she didn’t tell anyone back then.”

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center estimates one in five women will be the victim of a sexual assault in their lifetime, while simultaneously being the most underreported crime, with 63 percent of cases not being reported. These events can have irreversible damage on a person’s psyche, so asking why they didn’t report the crime at the time it occurred is ignorant.

So it should come as no surprise that Trump takes the side of the victim blamer and argues without regard for kindness or sympathy. Despite all the statistics showing how difficult it is for victims to share their stories, it seems that Trump thinks Ford should have no problem testifying in front of the entire Senate and national news stations.

This is precisely what Trump has supported ever since his campaign, his infamous quote pertaining to grabbing women by the genitalia of course not being enough to stop him from taking the presidency. We can see the consequences of this character trait in full bloom now, with the lifetime nomination of a Supreme Court justice in the balance.

The only thing stopping the nomination of an anti-choice sexual predator now is the accusation of one brave woman. It seems like the hearing should continue as planned, but every day that goes by is another day when the Republican majority could rush this hearing through to its ill-advised conclusion. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has shown incredible strength to get this far, but it seems her trials are not over yet.