I did not listen to Dr Christine Blasey Ford testify before a senate judiciary committee about being sexually assaulted by the man set to sit in judgement of and hold the fate of countless women in his hands.
I did not need to. The main parts of Dr Ford’s statement had been public knowledge before she was compelled to out herself and face the judgement of the whole world. I did not need to hear her speak her pain and trauma out loud, I did not need to hear her voice crack or to witness her keeping her composure so that she could be a model witness, the only kind that has any hope of garnering belief if you’re a woman.
I believed Dr Ford from the start. I tend to believe women. What part of her story was unbelievable anyway?
Then two other women stepped forward and it was clear to me that this is going to be another Bill Cosby situation if it was given enough time.
Dr Ford wants an FBI investigation because she knows that only with time and persistent digging will the truth she has lived with so long be confirmed in the eyes of the public. Her opponents want to rush this through – why?
As always we hear cries of due process – but Dr Ford is the one in fact arguing for process. If she had whispered her story softly and let the wheels of bureaucracy turn, she would have been ignored. So she kickstarted due process by going public. Her voice could then not be stifled or ignored even if she herself did not want the limelight. That is the essence of #metoo – not the disavowal of due process but the forcing of it so that “troublesome” women are seen and heard, not smothered. In coming forward, these women – even in our current climate of disclosure – stand to lose a lot. Contrary to popular belief, these women are judged too, to stick their necks out is a risk.
My belief in Dr Ford is not the only reason I walked out when V started listening to her testimony. I was triggered. How many of us, I wonder, have had the privilege of not knowing what it feels like to have the dead weight of a man grinding on top of us while we try to push him off. Maybe we struggled in vain, maybe at some point we switched off, maybe we were confused and didn’t know what to do until it was too late. Maybe we were very young.
The word triggered is associated with the word snowflake. I’m not sure where I stand on trigger warnings. I don’t see how they could be harmful, though I wonder if it’s ever possible to cover the whole range of triggers.
I do find it is a useful description for ow I feel these days when I hear details of sexual harassment in the news. There is a disjuncture between the horror of it and the normalisation of life going on around the television set not to mention the detachment of the talking heads.
It does not help that V watches Fox News because ‘entertainment.” I can get on board with the value of not living in an echo chamber but sometimes the misogyny and racism is too much to hear.
Dr Ford’s trauma is personal.
And what of the accused – the man who quipped, then cried, then professed his love of beer? I can only say that no woman fighting for her career could have gotten away with the way he handled that hearing.
Would he barefaced lie to the public? Yes, he would. He has more to lose than Dr Ford. Lying is his only recourse at this point. And he didn’t even do it very well.
Besides, remember Bill Clinton?
I am convinced Brett Kavanaugh will get the job he wants and that in a few months it will be life as usual. Because isn’t that what normally happens – men getting away with it is so normal that what’s one more?