On September 16th, a weight made of iron and lead was born inside of my chest: still small enough to be swallowed when it tried to inch up my throat and past my lips, but there nonetheless. This was the day Professor Christine Blasey Ford came forward as the author of a previously anonymous letter accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
We’re all familiar.
That weight laid dormant for a week and a half as I assured myself that, “Hey. It’s 2018. It’s the #MeToo era. I know we really haven’t been the best with these but they’ll at least listen.”
On the day of the hearing it shot into my throat and stayed there, making my eyes well, blocking the air from reaching my lungs. I could taste the metal. The wild anger displayed by Kavanaugh that day poured hot and molten into my chest and wrapped around the existing mass, doubling it in size. That performance should have immediately raised some sort of warning signal. Instead, Lindsey Graham pointed a trembling finger at us in a rage-fueled and accusatory explosion of partisan rhetoric.
An allegation can never just be an allegation. It has to be a conspiracy, a plot, revenge, a lie, something. According to Donald Trump, it’s the young men that are in danger. Watch out, guys! If you’re not careful, you’ll be accused of sexual assault next!
And that’s the real problem, isn’t it? This “us against them” mentality. How can we even begin to heal, to be better, if we are constantly waiting for the other one to stab us in the back?
I encourage all of you to go back and watch the hearing again, even if you’ve already seen it. Look past Kavanaugh’s anger and focus on the faces of the women sitting behind him. We cannot do this alone. It should not be the responsibility of a female prosecutor to be the human shield for the all-male Republican Judiciary Committee members, nor should it be the responsibility of women to fix this flaw in our country. It never should’ve been. It can’t be ignored that the majority of the players in the Kavanaugh process were men, but that women were largely expected to deal with it — especially during Ford’s hearing.
I could rightfully be accused of emphasizing gender division in this article. If it feels like I’m calling on one side more than the other, it’s because I am. We need an equilibrium in fixing this problem. And the blaming exists on both sides. Divisiveness, calling men or women the enemy and widening yet another divide in this country, is not what we need.
We cannot do this alone.
My chest cannot hold this weight any longer.