A Sexual Assault Survivor Explains Things Slowly to GOP Rapist Enablers

People tell me I can’t speak about this because I am biased. I disagree.

I have mentioned this in passing before, but now I’m going to come out with the story of an ongoing sexual assault that happened to me at work, so that I can use it to explain things very slowly to Republican enablers of rapists.

My morning started with this fellow, a writer for the conservative Daily Caller, telling me that the alleged victim, Christine Ford, chose an election year to tell her therapist about this assault so thus it was primed for his nomination.

I wrote back, “Right, women have nefarious motives. It can’t be that they are traumatized by the idea of the person who tried to rape them gaining ultimate power re the law. It can’t be that hearing of his possible ascent brought bad memories up to the surface and forced her to deal with it.”

Ford spoke to the Washington Post before Kavanaugh was named, she took an FBI agent administered lie detector test and passed, and in two different therapy sessions (one marital one individual), she mentioned the alleged Kavanaugh sexual attack.

Then this conservative demanded I answer him about Ford‘s “motive to lie”:

But Kavanaugh has the bigger motive to lie here.

Ford has no motive to lie, she gains nothing except being attacked, whereas he gets a lifetime appointment if he successfully lies his way through this (motive to lie presumes guilt, duly noted– but it’s not my argument, it’s his, which assumes Ford‘s guilt).

This is why I need to get real with you all. I know I am with a large number of women who are victims of sexual assault (1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime), so hardly a lone voice or even special in any way except that I can and am going to use my platform to explain a few things.

I was pushed into a dark room unexpectedly while at work, like Ford says happened to her at this party. This, in and of itself, is dehumanizing. To have your body forced into a dangerous situation because you are smaller and were not aware the attack was coming is frightening.

The attacker ripped my purse from my shoulder before shoving me into the room, so I had no access to my cell phone.

He then tried to take my clothes off and kiss me, even as I protested. He kept telling me “No one will know” as if that were my issue. He knew that was not my issue because I had already turned down his advances many times.

He was my boss. I tried to do it diplomatically, I tried appealing to his ego, I explained I had a partner, I brought my Pastor to work in hopes of sending a message that way, I used the buddy system and was hardly ever alone — I tried all of the things a person does when they are faced with a situation like this. None of it worked.

Did I tell anyone? I told a few people I worked with, my partner and friends and kept a private log of the incidents, but I didn’t tell any higher ups. I was told that I would lose my job if I told. They found out after it was reported by a mandated reporter, and I refused to respond because I knew I would be blackballed, other than to say, “My only statement is that in my opinion, you have a legal liability on your hands with him. I want to clarify on the record that my job does not include allowing anyone to touch me in any way.”

And of course this was not in the 1980s, when a woman who told on a man in school would be dubbed a whore at best. This was 2002.

I hadn’t told anyone other than those few colleagues, close friends and family, until the #MeToo movement, at which point, much like Ford, I contacted a paper of note on this issue and told a reporter there, off the record, what happened to me. I was not ready to come forward, but if other women accused this man (as one already had with a story eerily similar to mine and I have never met her or talked with her), I wanted my story available as back up for them.

I will be judged for that as well, by people who don’t understand because they haven’t named a powerful accuser, the outpouring of hate. I was already subjected to the whisper campaign he instituted against me, even as he continued to grab me, pull at my clothes, pull me onto his lap in public, drive by my home, knock incessantly on my hotel door at 2 AM, call me, hold my paycheck back for 2 weeks right after he assaulted me, and harass me for rejecting him by refusing me time to use the restroom at work for hours at a time.

It is already difficult every time I see one of his films glorified in the press, but if he were to be named a possible arbiter of the law, it would become insufferable. A man who treats women with such contempt, who has no respect for their body and autonomy, should not be on the highest court of the land.

People tell me I can’t speak about this because I am biased. I disagree.

It is people who have not been through this who are biased, because they have no idea what they are talking about. They are biased by ignorance. They bring with them ideas about this that are not based in reality. They have no idea what it feels like, the pressure from all around you to be silent, the threat of the loss of your reputation and peace of mind contrasting with the agony of the nightmares, the ongoing fear — waking up in the middle of the night sure that he is on top of you and you can’t breathe or speak. The desire to fade away into nothing. The long, hard fight back from those suffocating feelings of having your life ruined, your faith in humanity destroyed, and your understanding of intimacy sullied for life.

I still haven’t come forward about this, because it’s not worth having my entire career sabotaged and name dragged through the mud. But it would be if he were to be named as a possible Justice on the highest court of the land, or if another woman came forward and was having her name dragged through the mud.

The knowledge of these fears doesn’t make me biased; it makes me an expert at something I never wanted to be knowledgeable about. I wasn’t given a choice about that.

I would have to come forward if he were put on a shortlist for the Supreme Court — not because he is a wholly awful person. That’s not how this works. There were parts of him that were decent and certainly many women willingly succumbed to what they must have seen as his charm. Real life isn’t a cartoon, the bad guy doesn’t come wearing a black scarf around his eyes and a skull warning on his forehead. No, the real bad guys come with all of the accoutrements of power. They are supported and enabled by many, including other women.

And that is why that letter of the 65 women supporting Kavanaugh not only didn’t elevate his version of reality in my eyes, but made me more dubious. Many in the media questioned how he happened to have this at the ready. A good question. A skilled predator is always ready to defend themselves. That letter actually made me wonder if there are more women.

This raises the question of why Republicans WILL NOT WAIT for the FBI investigate these charges.

Debra Katz, the attorney for Brett Kavanaugh‘s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, says her client is willing to speak out publicly, under oath at a public hearing before senators, saying, “She’s willing to do what she needs to do.”

There are only two reasons why Republicans won’t allow a proper vetting of this man: One, they know it will not end well for him or two, they are in such a rush to confirm him because they need him on the court for some other reason.

Neither of these reasons is “justice.” And wait, isn’t that what he is being confirmed for? Yes, he is supposed to be a Judge. A Supreme Court Judge at that, whose job it would be to check the actions of the President and Congress. Shouldn’t his character matter, then? And we already know his character is MORE FLAWED at this point of the story than Ford’s.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) says she’s very worried about “fairness.” By this she doesn’t mean looking after the rights of this alleged victim, and so she certainly doesn’t mean she’s worried about justice. This is the woman who said former Senator Al Franken (D-MN) should step down, remember. But now, with worse allegations, she’s worried about their timing.

Collins’ concerns, such as they are, are about the timing of these allegations, a concern she has elevated to be at least equal to if not weighted more heavily than justice for a victim who, if she’s telling the truth, was shoved into a bedroom, pushed down onto a bed, assaulted and had her mouth covered as she screamed, during which she felt as if she might die.

So Collins’ is more concerned about the “timing” of an allegation than the allegation itself, although the allegation is far worse than any delay in a vote.

This is how Republicans treat women (and sure, the Democrats used to do this too, but they don’t anymore, so spare me the whataboutisms because unless this is history class, they are not relevant to this discussion).

Republicans are accusing Democrats of dirty tactics with Ford‘s allegations, when it is Republicans who are smearing a woman who passed an FBI administered lie detector test.

Republicans are accusing the Democrats of dirty tactics, when Senator Feinstein did the honorable thing of not disclosing this victim’s letter because she was not ready to come forward. If anything, this speaks to putting victims first, which is how things should be. I see no concern at all for victims from the majority of Republicans (save Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who courageously took a stand against his whole party by standing up for justice, which is getting to the truth- not assuming either way). Yes, see, even though I am “biased” by having the knowledge of what a perpetrator does and says under these circumstances, I still value real justice, which is trying to determine the truth.

I’m not advocating jumping to “Kavanaugh guilty”, so it’s odd that Republicans have already jumped to “Ford liar.” What are they hiding?

Republicans can’t read a room. They’ve got their 1980s playbook, but this is 2018. Women have had two years to deal with pain of having a known sexual assaulter as president. We are ready for their lame character assassination of Christine Ford. We see them for what they are. We know why they are doing this, and we know why they assume it’s okay to smear Ford‘s name while defending an established liar.

Every 98 seconds another American is sexually assaulted. Victims are women, children, and men. We see right through this tired subterfuge playbook. It has worked for Trump and his kind for years, but his election actually changed all of that. We are all discussing these things publicly now, and not afraid to call it what it is.

The more Republicans attack Ford, the more it looks like Ford might have not just a point, but perhaps is the tip of the iceberg.

Even if Kavanaugh is not guilty of this, the attack Republicans are engaging in enables rapists and predators. They are attacking the alleged victim, saying she’s a liar with bad motives — when in fact it is the man here who has a reason to lie. This is unconscionable in the days of #MeToo.

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