We’ll hear from two people today. One is a man who has proven himself remarkably comfortable with lying under oath, whose judicial record is littered with rulings that overrule women’s bodily sovereignty, who bragged in his high school yearbook about a sexual conquest and about getting throwing-up drunk.
The other is a woman who did not want to come forward, who was driven into the public eye by press and politicians who invaded her privacy. Whose story has not changed over many years, and who seeks a full investigation.
But listen carefully, too, to the people we won’t be hearing from: Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s loved ones, who heard her story long before Brett Kavanaugh made the news. Deborah Ramirez, who says Kavanaugh shoved his penis in her face at Yale. Her classmate who heard about Kavanaugh assaulting Ramirez just hours after it happened. Julie Swetnick, who is risking her whole career to describe the gang rapes she says Kavanaugh helped organize in high school, a grotesque ritual she says she was eventually the target of Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s friend and alleged co-assailant, whose history of misogyny is too long to detail. Judge’s college girlfriend, who says that Judge long ago confessed to her that he participated in a gang rape in high school.
We’re not hearing from them because the GOP have stopped even pretending to be a party of high morals. Instead, the mounting evidence that their nominee for the highest court is in fact a serial sexual predator has only motivated Senate Republicans to try to confirm Kavanaugh faster. They have demonstrated an astonishing allergy to any kind of fact-finding or investigation that would help shed light on these allegations. And they have played reckless games with women’s lives, simultaneously claiming, without evidence, that the women who have come forward must de facto be liars, and that even if they were telling the truth, the predations they are describing are no big deal.
But they are. Kavanaugh is on the brink of a lifetime appointment to a body that holds tremendous power over every aspect of women’s lives: our reproductive autonomy, our right to workplaces free of harassment and discrimination, our freedom to marry whomever we love, and yes, our freedom from sexual violence. It couldn’t matter any more urgently whether he ever participated in gang rapes, or if he once held down a 15-year-old girl, muffled her screams with his hand, and tried to take off her clothes while his bro egged him on.
It matters to the young people of this country, too, who will learn either that sexual violence is abhorrent and has consequences, or else that it’s just something boys get to do if they’re white and rich enough. It matters to survivors, who have been forced to relive our trauma over and over while watching the President of the United States call us liars and tell another head of state that women who are drunk can’t be assaulted.