Time’s up for #MeToo

Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court

My son started to ask me a question yesterday, and the minute he said “Kavanaugh” I knew what he was thinking. I’d been thinking the same thing all day.

Why is a woman, Christine Blasey Ford, only just now accusing Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of an attempted rape back in 1982? The statute of limitations ran out years ago and she never said anything. Until now.

The timing of her accusation is highly suspicious, coming as it does in the midst of Kavanaugh’s nomination hearing. But it is, after all, the #MeToo era. Perhaps she was finally emboldened enough to speak up. Except #MeToo started last year. Why is she only just now speaking up?

What bothers me even more is that Ford was 15 at the time and Kavanaugh was 17. And she said he was drunk. How many drunk teenagers every year try to have sex with someone? It’s not right, of course, but it’s practically a rite of passage for many, many teens. Young people experiment with sex, drugs, alcohol, hazing, etc. If every such incident ended up in court, there’d be time for nothing else.

Kavanaugh has denied that any such thing ever occurred. And he’s entitled to a presumption of innocence. But rightly or wrongly, his appointment may now depend on who’s telling the truth and can prove it. Yes, we should assume women are telling the truth. Until they aren’t. And waiting 36 years to report something certainly casts doubt.

That said, I have to ask just how far are we going to go with #MeToo? Have we reached the point where a teenager’s one-time indiscretion is reason enough to ruin an adult’s career and reputation many years later?  Even if Ford is telling the truth, should it matter now?

Just to be clear, I’d prefer Kavanaugh not be confirmed. I very much wanted a liberal justice, not a conservative Trump appointee. But the timing of Ford’s accusation, coming only now at this critical moment, is suspect. I think wherever the line is on #MeToo — and there must be a line — this situation has crossed it.

__________________________

Correction/Apology: The story is a lot more complicated than I knew this morning. My fault for avoiding most national news. Ford mentioned the assault to others as long ago as 2012 (but still 30 years after the fact). On July 30, 2018, (three weeks after Kavanaugh was nominated) she wrote a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., describing her allegations. On Sept. 12, after reports of the letter leaked, Feinstein released it to the FBI. The next day she issued a statement about the information she had received from a source that wished to remain anonymous. Three days later, after leaks revealed her identity, Ford went public with her allegation. PBS has published a detailed timeline of these events.

 

 



Categories: Politics, Society

26 replies

  1. As I understand it, Diane Feinstine (sp?) had the letter in July and sat on it till now.

  2. It’s a toughie, that’s for sure. I think because it happened when they were teenagers I can understand why it never came out before. I lost my virginity to forced sex. I wasn’t raped, by the definition, but I wasn’t ready and my pleas to stop went unheard. I have to admit I was curious so if I was really against it, I could have been combative and physically stopped him. It’s an incident that has never really haunted me. Like you said, teens experiment with sex. Some encounters will be good, some not-so-good.

    Now, decades down the road, if the man who did that to me was up for the same position, what would I do? Personally, I don’t like, nor need, any drama in my life so I lean towards staying quiet like I have for most of my life. However, I can understand why she feels it is necessary as this position is one of the most powerful seats in this country. Was this behavior repeated by Kavanaugh? Has it gone on to him feeling dominate over women? What he decides when acting judge will affect millions of people’s lives. If he doesn’t treat women with as much respect as he does with men, who knows how that would affect his voting.

    It was a tough decision that I’m sure she has spent a lot of time and hours debating on what to do. Kavanaugh has a long history of corruption so a rape decades ago fits the nature of this man. I wish her the best of luck.

    • I haven’t followed the story very closely, but if he’s guilty of corruption, then reject him on that basis. Or if several women come forward, perhaps there’s a pattern of sexual abuse. But one attempted rape as a drunk teenager doesn’t strike me as grounds for disqualification almost four decades later. I certainly wouldn’t want to be held accountable now for something I did in high school.

      (Of course I wouldn’t mind seeing a conservative anti-abortion judge disqualified.)

    • …I’m so sorry, I mixed up two comments into one. This is what I meant to leave:

      My son started to ask me a question yesterday, and the minute he said “Kavanaugh” I knew what he was thinking. I’d been thinking the same thing all day.

      Why is a woman, Christine Blasey Ford, only just now accusing Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of an attempted rape back in 1982? The statute of limitations ran out years ago and she never said anything. Until now.”

      She told her therapist about the incident a decade ago, she sent a letter when he was first put up for confirmation, she only came forward after the letter was leaked… her story has been consistent. She should at least have the opportunity to be taken seriously because, if her story is true, your country has nominated for the Supreme Court a man who tried to rape someone. And that should matter… and it shouldn’t matter that the statute of limitations has run out.

      The #metoo ‘movement’ is all about women being fed up with decades and decades and decades of not being listened to when speaking up. As a teenager in 1982, what chance did she have, really, if she had spoken up? Keep in mind, Anita Hill spoke up in 1991, what chance did she have, even with four witnesses to Thomas’ behaviour?

      • I deleted your first comment. Glad it was a mistake because I was totally confused.

        I’d mostly read only headlines when I wrote this post and knew only that a woman was accusing Kavanaugh of attempted rape 36 years ago. I didn’t know she’d talked to a therapist, or sent a letter, until today. With her permission, the therapist can corroborate her story. And with that corroboration, there’s no reason not to believe her. That, in turn, would make Kavanaugh the liar.

        My real concern, though, is how much latitude we are giving or should give to #MeToo. Of course women should be heard and believed, just as men have been for so long. But that doesn’t mean automatically that every woman with a story of rape or abuse is telling the truth. It doesn’t mean that in every he-said she-said situation, the man is the liar. I worry that with #MeToo, we might let the pendulum swing too far to the woman’s side in every situation. I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want good men brought down by bad women, nor good women abused by bad men.

        There are 21 senators on the panel that will hear testimony from Kavanaugh and Ford. Eleven are Republicans, all male. There are only four women, all Democrats. I don’t foresee a good outcome, no matter what happens.

        By the way, I think it important to point out that our country did not nominate Kavanaugh. Donald Trump nominated him. And more than half of US voters voted against Trump.

        Thanks, Gabriel, for pointing out my oversights. You’ve obviously been following this story more closely than I have. And thanks for dropping in. It’s good to hear from you again.

        • Point of clarification: The report I heard was that Kavanaugh allegedly groped her and held his hand over her mouth. No clothes were removed or even unzipped, as far as I’ve read. That’s a long way from attempted rape. Was she carried into the bedroom against her will? If not, we must assume she went voluntarily. Very few women could have come through the 70’s and 80’s – the era of free love – without having at least one similar experience. I’m not saying she’s lying, because none of us know and even she hasn’t been able to pin down where, when or definitively who. Trauma memories are notoriously unreliable because of the way the brain lays down memories under stress. I’m saying Kavanaugh, as hopefully would happen for any of us, needs to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Sadly, the timing and handling of this smacks heavily of partisan political obstruction.

          • I think I read that she was carried into a bedroom, thrown onto the bed, and the door was locked. Kavanaugh then attempted to undress her — definitely assault and probably attempted rape. She remembers which party it was, and that she was wearing a swimsuit under her clothes. And I don’t know how she can prove any of it.

            It’s a complicated, ugly situation for all concerned and I agree, it really smacks of partisan political obstruction, although both parties are guilty of mishandling this entire nomination.

  3. Teenagers. Drunks, kissy, huggie, smackie face, and blurred memories over 30 years ago.
    Seriously? Teenagers!
    Like Beto, the Dem running for senate here, said about his teenage drug driving at high rate of speed down major freeway, rolling car and crashing – trying to leave the scene of accident but held by others..”I won’t let what I did then hold me back now”…If it works for that one, not this one? We won’t go into the Kennedys’ antics…and drowning.
    Or the long history of the Hollywood casting couch…everyone knew about that. That’s why moms wouldn’t let their innocent daughters go to Hollywood, right? Me, too? If it was important, why didn’t you do something at the time…hmmm? I faced down some old gezzers – and so did my grandmother…Enough whining and pretending you were helpless creatures…where’s that Women’s Lib backbone everyone fought for and applauded? Women hear me roar! What happened to that attitude and stance so popular at that time?
    This case, If nothing was said or reported at the time, stupid. Stupid. Like dad said, “easier to leave and stay out of trouble than to try to talk your way out of it once it shows up. No one will take as good of care of you as yourself.”
    What you said here is important:”I don’t want good men brought down by bad women, nor good women abused by bad men.” At least 26 women who worked closely with this man (and I know little about him – just this situation) have stepped up and said he is a fine person and always treated them with respect and professionally. This who thing stinks of politics, showmanship, and Salem witch trials group think.
    It’s all getting like what we used to laugh at and call day time soap operas. Sadly all of life here is getting more and more like telenovelas of Mexico

    • Thank you for pointing out ”I don’t want good men brought down by bad women, nor good women abused by bad men.” That pretty well sums it up for me. Do the right thing, people.

      As for the politics … just saw a commercial featuring a woman saying how great Kavanaugh is. Why? Do they expect the general public to get on the phone to Washington and demand he be confirmed?

      • What bothers me is that Senator Feinstein had this anonymous letter since July. When she had several opportunities to question Kavanaugh, she didn’t mention it. Why? It was like she was holding it for maximum drama.
        Is character assassination the only goal?
        Remember that La crosse team of boy that got accused…then later it was revealed it was all made up? Ruined those boys college careers and took a couple of years/lots of money to clear it up. All a lie.
        Kavavnaugh was said to be one of the better choices – more mid line than many of the others mentioned. This is a major worry now.
        If this woman is in therapy, there’s probably multiple reasons why she’s so fragile – but that is private and should remain so – medical info. Typical teen antics aren’t usually so crushing.
        This whole Me, too movement is harming women’s progress to be viewed as well functioning, intelligent, capable individuals – we worked to hard to get this far.. Stop playing the victim! Stand up for yourself at the right time. Gads.
        I wish they would ban all political and pharmaceutical commercials!!!! Pointless and costly in multiple ways.

        • As was obvious in my post, I was suspicious about the timing of the revelation of the assault. There’s a sort of explanation for the timeline, but the timing still reeks of politics.

          I do remember the lacrosse team. One vindictive woman, whatever her reasons, can ruin a man’s life, or at least make things very awkward for him. Yes, we should believe women. Except when we shouldn’t. If we aren’t very careful #MeToo could backfire on women. Women are every bit as honest as men, and as dishonest.

          Oh those damned commercials. I’ll bet half of them are for pharmaceuticals (sure seems like it), and the political ads are rapidly increasing as the election gets closer.

          • Also weird about this allegation is that the FBI did investigate this allegation 6 times previously when doing background/security checks on him – before Trump was in office – and found there was not enough to determine as the case was old and there were no hard facts and her story kept changing. Not sure what to be gained by insisting FBI investigate again. It’s really a local thing and maybe the local law authority could examine, but they were both minors (like another recent rape case involving well heeled man who is no longer a minor) so would he be charged a a minor if decided it was true?
            Just stupid.
            That poor woman – she apparently believed someone when they said send the letter – we’ll keep it anonymous. Now she’s a target for all sorts of nuts. Like she needed any more emotional trouble.
            (It’s also not a sexual assault situation, an “uncomfortable” situation – the accusation language changed after the first day…to an emotional hyper-charged language – also suspicious )
            I think we’re going to need some blinders/ear plugs here to survive the political campaign season. Wish we could charge all the election signs as litter. UGH

  4. I can understand why Ford waited so long to go public. This is a woman from an upscale family who would have been all too aware of the cultural sensitivities that apply to a he-said/she-said situation like this. “Why were you even at such a party?” “What did you expect?” ” Why didn’t you tell your parents you were going there?” “Did you know in advance there would be alcohol?” “Did your parents know you were drinking at age 15?” “Can you prove you didn’t come on to him?” “Have you done this kind of thing before?”

    Now, she has not only become the center of a media hurricane, she has reportedly received death threats and has been forced to leave her home with the rest of her family. Maybe, just maybe, Kavanaugh’s imminent elevation to a SCOTUS lifetime appointment has caused Ford’s sense of civic duty caused her to make this sacrifice. And a sacrifice it is.

    • Good points. I doubt I’d have ever told anyone if it happened to me. I’d have been mortified, my parents would have been furious. And I probably would have assumed that’s just the sort of thing that can happen at drinking parties. (I was a very naive teen.)

      The GOP was hoping to fast-track this confirmation and she’s really thrown a monkey wrench into their plans. Sounds like they plan to continue Monday, with or without her. If her speaking up can delay a confirmation until after the election, we could be looking at a whole new ball game. And both parties know it. If Kavanaugh is confirmed before the election, the Republicans may pay an even higher price than I’m hoping for. But they will have gotten their Supreme Court seat.

  5. I read all the comments and think this is one post it’s better if I keep my nose out; except to say that I don’t like the idea of these judges being appointed for life by a politician of a particular political persuasion

“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.” ~ Cornel West

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