Female Republican politicians fail to empower other women
It happened when Anita Hill testified in 1991. It happened when Hillary Clinton ran for president. And it will most likely happen again if Christine Blasey Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. In fact, female Republican senators and politicians have already begun to demolish Christine Blasey Ford’s credibility. Why? Because women are incapable of empathizing with and supporting other women. This very societal problem helps explains why Hillary Clinton did not win and why Kavanaugh will likely be confirmed to the highest court of the land.
When news broke of the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, the news media immediately drew parallels to Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation in 1991. Clarence Thomas, then nominee, was accused of sexual harassment in the workplace by Anita Hill. Hill testified before the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee and was gravely discredited.
The question now is whether or not Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser, will be believed if she testifies this week. Christine Blasey Ford has been forced to negotiate her testimony because she demanded that an FBI investigation take place before she testifies. However, Republicans would never agree to an investigation, as they are trying to ram Kavanaugh’s vote through before the midterm elections. Ford’s demands for an investigation have prompted Republicans to discredit her allegations. It is unfortunate that politicians are unable to realize how hard it is for survivors of sexual assault to testify and tell their stories, especially since we are living in the #MeToo and Time’s Up era.
Female survivors of sexual assault have their stories dismissed before they even have a chance to tell them. When female survivors do have the opportunity to stand against their accuser, the accuser has to confirm that the incident happened for society to fully believe the survivor. This is due to the fact that we live in a patriarchal society that values the voices of men over the truths of women.
Since revealing herself to the public, Ford has faced a number of death threats. It is during times like these that America needs to take a look in the mirror to see the monster it has become. Ford was probably halted from coming forward sooner due to fear and the inevitable fact that women are never listened to when the accuser is a man of power.
Over the past few days, Republicans have once again proven that their agenda is their top priority. Now, they are facing pressure from Trump and Evangelical groups to push the confirmation through the Senate. And women like Kellyanne Conway have demonstrated on national television that they have clearly learned nothing from the Time’s Up or #MeToo movements.
This past year, a lot of progress has been made towards listening to women who are survivors of sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. Many industries have taken action against powerful men who have sexually harassed or assaulted women. Harvey Weinstein, a powerful producer in Hollywood, has been blacklisted from the business. Matt Lauer, who was arguably one of the most famous TV morning hosts, was fired and publicly condemned for his years of sexual harassment in the workplace. The CEO of the CBS Corporation recently stepped down due to allegations that he sexually abused women. Many allegations have come out of the woodwork this year and many have been met with serious consequences, but when are our public officials going to start taking sexual assault allegations seriously?
If Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, not one, but two male judges will have been knowingly accused of sexual assault. This should not just concern women. It should concern all people that care about societal progress and equal rights. If we have two judges on the Supreme Court that have been accused of sexual assault, it will show our country that cruel behavior against women is okay because our politicians approve of it.
Any politician that votes for Kavanaugh should be ashamed of themselves. The female Republican senators need to recognize the ripple effect that this Kavanaugh decision will have on our society and the progress it will erase. This is bigger than politics. This should be bigger than political parties. It should be about listening to a woman who has been violated. It should be about supporting her after she had the courage to stand up for herself.
1991 was 27 years ago, and if Kavanaugh is approved, our politicians will prove that politics and party are more important than social progress and gender equality.