Fear, anger and numbness are escalating within women across the country. Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court is a piece of duct tape over the mouths of sexual assault survivors, not just all over the United States, but all over the world.
Three separate women, one of them Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Despite this, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 50-48 in favor of confirming Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
President Trump was quick to defend Kavanaugh. Even before any investigation was done, Trump called their accusations, “a con game played by the Democrats.”
Unfortunately, the number of politicians who have been accused of sexual misconduct does not end at Kavanaugh. As reported by NBC, in just 2017 alone, eight politicians in high-ranking positions have been accused.
Trump himself has been accused by 22 women. These women came forward before and after Trump’s presidential campaign; yet he, too, was elected into office.
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, “As of 1998, an estimated 17.7 million American women had been victims of attempted or completed rape.” In other words, “one out of every six American women has been a victim of attempted or completed rape.”
The women we live and attend school with every day are the future. Our futures cannot be silenced. Therefore, we will not stay silent.
Mount Mary University sophomore, Margaret Dishaw, said, “Stand up for each other. Don’t let men mistreat us. Women can either go against each other or they can come together.”
I am a resident assistant of Mount Mary’s Caroline Hall. There are 187 women living in the dormitory. Going by statistics, about 31 residents could have been a victim of sexual assault.
During my training to become a resident assistant, I was taught how to help the women who live here with just about any issue they may have, from how to deal with disagreements with a roommate to suicidal thoughts. One of those issues was sexual assault. It is imperative that I listen and guide women who are seeking help. I believe that the representatives and policy-makers of our country should be taught those same practices, but lately I have only seen a complete and utter lack of respect for women who are victims of sexual assault.
To just name a couple examples of this lack of respect, Trump managed to mock Ford at a rally in Mississippi on Oct. 2, and even turned to Twitter to ask her why she didn’t come forward sooner. Our president’s hurtful, degrading comments plastered all over the media make me fear that my residents will no longer feel comfortable coming forward with their experiences.
I walk through Caroline Hall and listen to women’s carefree laughter. I walk by their opened doors to see them deep into their piles of homework while blasting their favorite music to get through their hours of studies. I hope that if one of them were ever to be a victim, she would be believed, and she would not be limited to being accused of “playing a con game.” I don’t want anyone to fear that it might be too late to report it, or that no one will believe them. They are too intelligent, too driven and too valuable to go unheard.
While I have felt a gut-wrenching sense of hopelessness, I have not forgotten my voice as a reporter at an all-women’s university. When it feels like the odds are stacked against women due to recent events, I can still feel strength knowing I do not have to stay silent.
I am a student at Mount Mary majoring in English – writing for new media and aspire to be a lawyer. At 18 years old, I became a victim of sexual assault. I had heard stories of girls being raped or assaulted and I never thought it would happen to me, but it did. Those minutes felt like hours and I was stripped of something that I could never get back.
Our world is a place where we would rather focus on the future of the attacker rather than the victim. I am done accepting that. Women who are assaulted live with the repercussions of their attack, giving them a form of post traumatic stress disorder. Just as Ford remembered the laughing that filled the room she was in, I remember the tone in his voice telling me to stop resisting.
Living in a world today where women continue to empower each other to speak the truth has become the strength that I need to persevere. My stability continues to be shaken because of those not believing the survivors of sexual assault. To undermine Ford’s allegations as an “unethical political sham,” according to Senator Lindsey Graham, is unacceptable. The root of the problem is this: yet another political figure is being accused of sexual assault, but the only focus is how this will affect that man’s political career.
It is time to believe the women who come forward with these allegations and stop undermining what happened to them. Ford was willing to give up her career, reputation and any hope of having a successful future in order to do what she believed to be her civil duty. Coming forward to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee took nothing short of courage, determination and strength.
Ford represents women across the country who have been assaulted by those representing our country. To me, she is a role model, and I believe her. Women across the world will no longer live in fear because we have inspirations such as Ford to look up to. We have come a long way, but I assure you, there are mountains that haven’t been conquered yet.
Because of her tenacity, it is important for women all around the country to continue to come forward with their stories, including myself. Our stories are all unique; however, we share the same moment where our voices were taken from us, and we are here to take them back.