November 16, 2018

She’s Credible, So Long As Her Attacker Is Not Our Guy

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford threw her life into turmoil yesterday to testify before the nation. Asked by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), with what degree of certainty she believed that Judge Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her, she responded: “One hundred percent.”

Every senator voting to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court should be pushed to answer one question: Do you believe her? That question helps illuminate so much about this moment in American history, as survivors of sexual assault challenge our nation to confront long-entrenched norms, including not believing individuals who report that they are victims of sexual assault, or minimizing the harms to the accuser relative to the harms to the accused.

It is not hard to get broad agreement that sexual assault is bad. But, as many of us have seen firsthand, that consensus is tested once communities are asked to confront allegations against someone with social and professional standing that mirrors their own. And, as we are witnessing in real time, people can work through an extraordinary set of mental contortions to protect themselves from admitting that “their guy” did the wrong thing. Continue reading here.

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