It is 2018 and women are still not treated as equals in America. I’m not even talking about equal pay or opportunity, but equal in terms of being afforded the promise of safety and being respected as human beings.
The current state of affairs in both local and federal governments is pitiful. At the federal level, what seemed to be a guaranteed confirmation of president Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, has fortunately hit a snag as a highly educated woman came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.
Both Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh are asked to testify in a public hearing before the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. Dr. Ford has yet to confirm her attendance. One hopes that she will summon the extraordinary courage that will be necessary to relive that moment of assault in front of the committee,but even then, it’s not clear that her testimony will be taken seriously.
As details emerge – Senator Diane Feinstein had knowledge of the allegation but didn’t bring it up as the victim did not want her name ‘out there’ – it is safe to say that women like Dr. Blasey Ford and Anita Hill, another sexual abuse victim who came forward when Judge Clarence Thomas was nominated – and confirmed as a Supreme Court judge —don’t make this stuff up.
I’m not going out on a limb when I assume that the women closer to home, who came forward to speak out on having been sexually assaulted and having been re-victimized when NPD did not adequately investigate their cases, are also not making this up for the heck of it.
Let’s look at this rationally. Why would a woman falsely claim to have suffered an assault of the most intimate sort when the consequences more likely than not are anything but positive? As proven on local and federal levels, it’s the victim who gets raked over the coals, whose name gets smeared, whose credibility is questioned and who is in the spotlight for reasons not of their own making. Unfortunately, sexual assaults, especially those that happened a long time ago, are hard to prove. This is exactly why the perpetrators get away with it.
They count on the victim remaining quiet. They count on women being ashamed. They count on the fact that society – if in doubt —believes that women either lie, or misunderstood and exaggerate what happened to them. They count on the sad fact that telling lies works. We see the brazen untruths told by the suspect held in connection with the death of young Ashley Johnson-Barr. He lied to the FBI about her cell phone, about not knowing her and about not having been four-wheeling on the day in question. The parents of Ashley have to bury their 10-year-old girl. While we do not know all the facts in the case, it is the worst nightmare of a mom or dad. This horribly crime must jolt us into action to not condone any more lies, deceptions or disrespect for human life or dignity.
People lie. Presidents lie. Their advisers lie.
Our society not only tolerates but allows the unacceptable behavior of our own president, who, on tape, talked about grabbing women by their private parts and submitting them to his will. The president’s behavior and propensity to lie sends a signal to humankind that we have sunken to a new low level in the history of western civilization. The majority seems to be ok with that and that is a real shame.
By condoning that behavior in our leaders, we all are guilty of standing by and allowing violence and sexual assaults.
By allowing violent and alcohol-infused behavior in our families, we are guilty, too.
And what’s worse, we allow this to be perpetuated as our kids learn from examples set by adults. They are destined to continue the cycle of abuse, masking the pain with alcohol or drugs, begetting more abuse, shame and alcohol problems. When will it stop?—D.H.—