Donald Trump’s potential second Supreme Court Judge, Brett Kavanaugh, has been accused of committing sexual assault as a high-schooler. His accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has detailed the alleged assault, reigniting a national conversation over sexual misconduct as well as potentially putting the approval of Kavanaugh in doubt.
In the aftermath of Dr. Ford’s accusation, Kavanaugh’s denial and the proceeding debate, a number of questions have been raised.
Some of these questions have been disgusting, transparent attempts to clear Kavanaugh and others in his situation, of consequences that would stem from their actions.
Questions like “should the actions of a teenager really affect them this far down the road?” and whether it was even sexual assault or “just horseplay” (seriously).
If a life can be completely altered for crimes such as drug possession at a young age, why would attempted rape carry lighter consequences?
But, I think there are other genuine questions to look at surrounding this incident. How do we litigate accusations of rape or sexual assault when the only evidence that exists is the word of each side? Do we believe the accuser from the start, and work to resolve the truth from there?
In a hyper-partisan environment, are there different rules for analyzing situations such as these? We’ve seen the multiple examples, with differing end results. From the resignation of Al Franken, to the the continued support of the Trump administration for Roy Moore.
The way we deal with these accusations and move forward will tell us a lot about our society in the age of #MeToo as well as its impact on the political climate.
One success of the #MeToo movement has been the push to believe women when they share their stories of abuse, realizing that throughout history, men have been in a position to get away with these acts without fearing repercussions. Unfortunately, the fact that Dr. Ford has been forced to move due to a barrage of death threats, shows that we have a long way to go.
To me, this seems like another Roy Moore/GOP situation. Following accusations, come attacks on the character of the accuser, refusals to condemn or disown the candidate on the idea that they accusations aren’t credible.
In this case, the American people won’t be the judge and jury in the form of votes, but congress will essentially cast their judgement in votes for or against Kavanaugh’s approval. I fear that for the hyper-partisan congress, the truth won’t transcend the political desire of getting the judge they want.