Kavanaugh’s potential confirmation normalizes assault, silences women


Kernel Opinion SIG

Believe women.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexually assaulting a girl when they were both teenagers. In response, Republicans released a letter, with lightning speed, of 65 women with whom Judge Kavanaugh went to high school, who vouched for his character. Those 65 women who were not sexually assaulted do not negate the fact that one girl has said that she was assaulted.

The victim, Christine Blasey Ford, is a professor at Palo Alto University in California. She wrote a letter detailing the attack to the Washington Post in July and has been in contact with the paper ever since. The letter recently got leaked and Ford decided to publicly identify herself. Her lawyer even had her take a polygraph test, which she passed. And yet her word is being questioned.

Social media is rife with threats against her life and other vicious attacks. She wanted to keep her identity a secret but could no longer once the letter was leaked. Kavanaugh has outright denied the allegation. It is hard not to see parallels with the testimony of Anita Hill 27 years ago.

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated Judge Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court. As we all know, he was confirmed to the Supreme Court. Anita Hill, who worked with him in the Department of Education, accused Thomas of sexually harassing her. She too, passed a polygraph and even had witnesses to her back up her claims, but they were not called to testify.

In the era of #MeToo and Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct, Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court would erode even more trust in our justice system.

There are victims across the nation who are afraid to speak up, and appointing a sexual assaulter to the highest court in the land would make victims less willing to speak up. After all, if Clarence Thomas and (hopefully not) Brett Kavanaugh can make it to the Supreme Court untarnished, who will believe the victims who are assaulted by much lesser known people like siblings, colleagues or professors?

Should Kavanaugh be confirmed, his assentation to the Supreme Court would trickle down and possibly affect each and every student on this campus because it normalizes assault. It sends a message that a woman’s word is not valued, and sexual assault allegations are not enough to halt a person’s ambitions for power.