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sexual assault

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    The Kavanaugh Decision & Sexual Assault Victims

    The Kavanaugh Decision & Sexual Assault Victims

    by Makayla Smith, UAB student, and GirlSpring intern

    Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University and as a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

    Ford accused Brett Kavanaugh, Supreme Court nominee, of sexual assault. She said that the sexual assault occurred when she was 15 years old, and when he was 17. At the beginning of filing the complaint, Ford concealed her identity, in fear for her life. According to what she told The Washington Post, Ford claimed that “while his friend Mark Judge watched, Kavanaugh, intoxicated, held her down on a bed with his body, grinding against and groping her, covering her mouth when she tried to scream and trying to pull her clothes off. Finding it hard to breathe, she thought Kavanaugh was accidentally (her emphasis) going to kill her.”

    While he denied these allegations made by him, attorneys such as Debra Katz, Lisa Blanks, and Michael Bromwich encouraged her to come forward about what had happened. Ricki Seidman, who worked alongside the Anita Hill case, was also brought in to help Ford construct a personal hearing. Ford had also taken a polygraph test issued by a former FBI agent in which it proved that she was truthful about what she had said. Weeks after the case had settled, Congress elected Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Following the testimony of Dr. Ford, two other women stepped up, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick.

    Regarding the Me Too movement, I would like to say that I stand with Dr. Ford and other sexual assault victims.

    When I learned that 1 in 4 women experience assault, I was repulsed. This is a public health issue that I feel so many people sweep under the rug. Because we live in a male-dominated society, women’s health and women’s rights are left to suffer.

    I also want to clarify that being raped can happen to anyone, whether you are a man, a woman, or someone who does not identify themselves within the two. Men also face the thought that if they were to come out about the sexual assault they have suffered, then it is an attack on their masculinity. It is something that makes them feel of less value especially if a woman rapes them. People view it as an attack on their strength.

    Mostly, it takes a lot of courage to confide in someone about these types of things happening. Some people think that it is normal until they have a safe space to talk about what it is that has happened. These people face the world, or their families, with the possible thought of not being believed.

    We need accountability in cases like these in our Federal government. We need to believe people and give victims a fair arena to get justice. Everyone deserves to reclaim the autonomy of their bodies when he or she feels that they were violated without permission.

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    What The Kavanaugh Confirmation Means

    On October 6th, 2018, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a judge on the Supreme Court.

    Controversy swirled around every step of his nomination: sexual assault allegations, messy Senate hearings, and anti-Kavanaugh protests. For several weeks, both Republicans and Democrats fought fiercely in the Senate to gain the upper hand in the Supreme Court. However, what is crucial to this issue is not political parties or federal power — it’s the scenario itself.

    Democrat or Republican, male or female: everyone universally agrees that sexual assault is never acceptable. True, not all sexual assault allegations are 100% true, and not all that are committed are reported. But what we know with absolute certainty is that each report deserves a chance to be heard, which is why Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony holds so much weight both legally and symbolically.

    A sexual assault allegation is not something to be taken lightly, and our justice system reflects that belief accordingly. Criminal repercussions, lengthy trial processes, resurfaced traumas — the legal circumstances of sexual assault are convoluted and harsh, and they often punish both the accused and the accuser. However, Kavanaugh’s case holds another layer of meaning. When Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault, not only did his legal proceedings go under international scrutiny; they also raised a thought-provoking question for every American: what does it mean for American values when a Supreme Court nominee — a candidate for the highest court in the land — is accused of such a heinous crime?

    The answer to that question varies from person to person. However, I believe it means two things. 

    First, the allegation itself is a harsh reminder of our need to better address sexual assault. A social media hashtag — though it may raise awareness — is not enough. We need to take concrete steps to prevent future assaults, whether that means combatting rape culture or better educating future generations.

    Second, regardless of whether or not he was innocent, Kavanaugh’s reputation has undeniably been marred by Dr. Ford’s allegations. Nobody can discern the future of his professional career. He may be a stellar Supreme Court justice; he may be an awful one. But whatever the years hold in store, Kavanaugh’s tarnished legacy only threatens to undermine American faith in the government’s integrity further.

    The hard truth about America is that people do not have the same power as government officials. We cannot vote on the Senate floor. We cannot plead with the President to change his nomination. However, we can unite, and there is strength in numbers. And ultimately, to prevent further Kavanaugh repeats, we need to make our voice heard, and we need to make it loud and clear: Americans — especially women — will never stand for sexual assault.

  • Articles, Celebrities, TRENDING

    The Bill Cosby Trial: What Happened and What’s Next

    Comedian. Actor. America’s TV Dad.

    One name that has been used to describe Bill Cosby the most for almost three years is rapist. Accused of sexually assaulting and raping more than 50 women, Cosby went to trial after allegedly drugging and molesting a former employee of Temple University, Andrea Constand, thirteen years ago. Nearly two weeks ago, the jury in the trial came to a deadlock, meaning the verdict was not unanimous. They deliberated for more than 53 hours over six days.
    Less than a week after the trial, Cosby announced that he would host educational talks to avoid sexual assault charges. The use of the word “avoid” is alarming. It is not only ironic for Cosby to lead these talks but also sad. The goal of these talks, if they actually happen, should not be to avoid but to teach anyone regardless of gender NOT to commit the act in the first place. These talks also seem more like a ploy to recover the reputation he once had than to decrease instances of sexual assault.

    Although there was no clear verdict in the trial, some questions remain. Will Cosby and his team hear “not guilty” in the retrial? Will the victims eventually receive justice? What does this trial say and reveal about America’s relationship with rape culture in general?

  • TRENDING

    Larry Nassar’s Conviction is a Huge Step in the #TimesUp Movement

    The recent conviction of Larry Nassar for possession of child pornography and sexual assault to the girls of USA Gymnastics is one of the worst, if not the worst case of sexual misconduct in the history of sports. The victims, jury, and judge showed absolutely no mercy in the courtroom throughout the court hearing.

    Every victim got to share their story while Nassar had to helplessly listen to every horrible detail he was able to turn a blind eye to until now. He asked them to stop because it was detrimental to his mental help, but no mercy was shown nor was it deserved.

    Larry Nassar gave his plea through a letter which Judge Aquilina read out loud in court. The letter was nothing less than manipulative and narcissistic. It stated that the victims were seeking “medical attention” and “financial reward.” After which, Judge Aquilina threw the letter aside, unimpressed, and, if anything, it showed her how unapologetic he actually was, despite the dramatic apology he gave in court.

    During this time of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement, Nassar’s conviction was a big step in proving that any sexual misconduct, no matter who is involved, will not be tolerated. The case of Larry Nassar has shown what happens when we ignore these types of things. If maybe someone had taken just one girl seriously, then the number of young girls affected probably wouldn’t have reached over 150. Perhaps this monster would have been put away a long time ago.

    There is not one person who wants to see history repeat itself and have an incidence like this happen again. It should not have taken the police finding Nassar guilty of possession of child pornography just to believe all of the girls who complained about Nassar such a long time ago.

    Now that it is proven that these girls were not just being dramatic, nor were they seeking attention, but they were trying to find justice for being abused in the most vulgar way possible, more women and girls will not only be heard, but they will be taken seriously in the effort to not have anything like this happen again.

    Since it is #TimesUp for any disgusting man like Larry Nassar, fewer and fewer people will be able to say #MeToo.