We believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh waits to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. | J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Death threats and vicious harassment. Forced to flee her home with her family. That’s what Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has faced since she came forward with her allegation that Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, physically and sexually assaulted her in the 1980s. She has also, however, received widespread support and encouragement from women’s organizations, sexual assault survivors’ groups, and a number of elected officials and public figures.

Dr. Ford has courageously detailed, under the glare of the media spotlight and harsh right-wing attacks on her character, the assault that she endured decades ago as a student in high school. She’s now facing a firestorm of right-wing hatred that would send many into hiding. Yet, she persists.

This is not some last-minute Democratic ploy to torpedo a Trump nominee for purely political reasons. And lest Fox News or other conservative outlets have you believe otherwise, this is not a “he said, she said” dispute that lacks proof or evidence.

Knowing that she’s up against the power of the men on the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as the entrenched misogyny that still plagues our society, Dr. Ford has gone above and beyond in backing up her claims. She’s provided medical notes from years past that show she was dealing with the long-lasting psychological impacts of assault; she’s passed a lie detector test administered by a former FBI agent; she has signaled her willingness to testify before the Senate in Washington, D.C.

This is a woman who has put her career, her mental health, and her life on the line to prevent someone she sees as a dangerous person from being elevated—permanently—to one of the most powerful political positions in this country.

The response of too many Republicans when it comes to Dr. Ford’s allegations has been to turn the accuser into the accused. It’s the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas formula all over again. Ford’s motivations are dismissed as political, and she is declared untrustworthy. The impulse has been to rally around Kavanaugh, with too little consideration given to what Dr. Ford says happened to her.

The crassest Kavanaugh defenders respond to the possibility that he sexually assaulted a young woman with indifference. It was high school, they say. Even if something happened—not that they or Kavanaugh will admit it did—well, that’s just how boys are.

No, it’s not just a matter of boys being boys, and it’s not the kind of behavior that women should be forced to accept from men—whether the men in question be classmates, co-workers, bosses, strangers, federal judges, or presidents.

Women deserve to be believed when they come forward with allegations of assault. They shouldn’t have to go through the hoops and character assassination that Dr. Ford is now facing just to have their voices heard.

Dr. Ford is now asking for a full FBI investigation of her allegations before she has to appear at the same table as Kavanaugh next week. Republicans on the committee are balking, saying Ford gets her chance to talk and that’s it. No need for any further inquiry.

Why the rush? Why shouldn’t there be an investigation to verify whether claims of sexual assault against a potential Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States have merit? Of course, the answer to that question is most certainly a political one.

Trump and the GOP see the midterm elections on the horizon and are worried that if they can’t ram through Kavanaugh’s nomination now, they could lose control of the Senate, and it will then be too late. Locking in extreme right-wing control of the court is their overriding concern; they don’t intend to let one woman’s tale of sexual assault get in their way.

Kavanaugh’s anti-worker record was reason enough to keep him off the court. His anti-woman record was enough. His defense of the gun lobby was enough. His support for unchecked executive power was enough. There were already plenty of reasons why he should not become a Supreme Court justice. The allegations of Dr. Ford are another damning item to add to the list.

Thanks to the courage of Dr. Ford—as well as the new atmosphere of accountability and openness around the issue of sexual assault that’s been created by the powerful women’s and #MeToo movement—there may yet be a chance to stop Trump from getting his man Kavanaugh onto the high court.

The switchboards in the offices of every U.S. Senator need to be jammed with calls from the public demanding a full investigation of Dr. Ford’s allegations and a “No” vote on Kavanaugh. Won’t you make a call?


CONTRIBUTOR

C.J. Atkins
C.J. Atkins

C.J. Atkins is the managing editor at People's World. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from York University in Toronto and has a research and teaching background in political economy and the politics and ideas of the American left. In addition to his work at People's World, C.J. currently serves as the Deputy Executive Director of ProudPolitics.

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