Rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment are things that no person should ever have to live through. With the rise of the #MeToo movement firmly in the media’s eyes, we now hear countless victims voicing their experiences. Going through that sort of trauma is unfathomable in itself but sharing your story is a totally different mountain to climb. Some victims are often afraid to come forth with their stories because they fear possible “victim shaming”. This culture of not believing victims and instead of blaming them for the abuse endured is completely unacceptable. We should validate their emotions and be quick to provide support in any way we can.
In July, the President of the United States nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. At first, many thought Kavanaugh seemed like a great nomination. Months later, there are many people who have flipped their points of view toward him. Several allegations of sexual violence have come out against Judge Kavanaugh in the past weeks. Even after these accusations have been named credible, the Senate Judiciary is still going forward with the confirmation process of adding Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Sexual violence should not be taken lightly in any aspect but let’s really think about this. This is a man who could be involved in history breaking court cases; why would you want to give him this power? Oregon State Senator Jeff Merkley filed a lawsuit against the Kavanaugh confirmation process. He along with many other protestors are trying to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Dr. Christine Blasey recently went before the Senate Judiciary Committee and gave her sworn statement against Kavanaugh. Imagine how she must have felt to not only tell her story to a group of strangers but also to sit across from members of the government who are in favor of Kavanaugh Dr. Blasey had immense courage and I commend her for her bravery.
Even after a sworn statement, Dr. Blasey is still not receiving the proper support from the Judiciary Committee. This has a strong resemblance to Anita Hill in the 1900’s. She also had a sworn statement in front of the Committee against former Justice Clarence Thomas. If you’ve ever seen the video of Mrs. Hill’s questioning, you know they came at her with grueling questions. She should’ve never been questioned like that. She had members of the Committee asking for explicit details of the assault. They already had her written statement and they still asked her to retell the accounts out loud. America continues to perpetuate this space where victims are not believed. Every case of sexual violence matters. Every case of sexual assault is important. Every victim should know that they are a survivor. Do we do this on our own college campus or are we quick to ask the victims what they were wearing or if they asked for it? We hear time and time again about sexual violence being a prominent thing on college campuses. It’s not always about educating people about what to do to protect themselves from violence but to educate people to not be violent and respect others.
How are we as a college community ensuring that victims feel physically, mentally, and emotionally supported or validated? We have to let victims know that they are not alone and deserve justice. When a person comes forward with their story the first questions should be if they are okay and if they need any medical assistance.
If you yourself are a survivor, have a friend, or know of someone who is, please come forward. It is never your fault and you are not alone. There are multiple resources you can go to for help. Talk to a UHS counselor, visit the Women’s Clinic in the SAC, or file a report. It is time we start believing victims.