Opinion | Muftic: Dr. Christine Blasey Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh
On Thursday, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford will have a chance to tell the public and the Senate Judiciary Committee what she remembers of an attempted rape by Brett Kavanaugh when she was 15 years old, 35 years ago. The 11 male GOP members of the committee are in the majority and many of them have already expressed their views that whatever she says will not influence their support of Kavanaugh, their candidate to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.
A USA Today/Ipsos poll last week found that 40 percent of the public is withholding judgment of whether Dr. Ford or Brett Kavanaugh is telling the truth until after the testimony. The hearings are not a trial and the final court making the judgment call is public opinion, expressed in polls and at the ballot box Nov. 6.
Enter a new element, Dr. Blasey Ford’s accusation, that will be exhibit number one to many women that the GOP is infested with men who do not believe attempted rape is that big a deal and boys will be boys. Kavanaugh would tilt the court for decades favoring overturning the federal Roe v. Wade law. Kavanaugh would be passing judgment about whether a victim of rape should be allowed to have a legal abortion.
The timing could not be worse for the GOP since in six weeks voters will be deciding whether they want to make the effort to go to the polls and vote for Democrats in a midterm Congressional election. The GOP already was in the hole with women before the emergence of Dr. Ford’s accusation. The gender gap in July was 26 percent per a Quinnipiac poll. The gap was mostly fueled by the history and actions of Donald Trump’s well publicized experience with women that inspired the #MeToo movement and his campaign promise to overturn Roe v. Wade. The #MeToo movement has changed public perception that the sexual assault victim’s going public perception should be treated with respect and their charges taken seriously no matter how many years ago the alleged event took place
Dr. Ford is up against a stacked deck controlled by the most powerful men in the United States, members of a party whose candidate for president won his election with a public overlooking his outrageous behavior toward women, an admitted grabber documented in the Access Hollywood tapes, and a reputation widely known by pre political era media coverage that included several marriages and his demanding death to the Central Park Five, young men later exonerated of rape by DNA evidence. Last week President Trump commented that if attempted rape was such a bad experience for Dr. Ford, she as the 15-year-old, should have reported this to parents or the FBI at the time.
Even today, 63 percent of those sexually assaulted never report the attack to authorities per the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, more than 80 percent of campus sexual assaults go unreported per several reports, and certainly not to the FBI who investigate only federal crimes, which this is not. The reason is clear. Women and girls who report face a defense by those they accused that is based upon tearing down both their credibility and their background, painting them as loose women, drunk or drugged, and were the guilty ones. As more witnesses emerge of Kavanaugh’s out of control behavior in his younger days, even after Thursday’s hearing, expect the court of public opinion will be bombarded with evidence for and against him all the way to Nov. 6.
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