let the whole world know that today is a day of reckoning.
(TW: sexual assault / violence)
If you are anything like me (and if you identify as a woman, I’m guessing you are, at least in the context of this post), yesterday was — to put it mildly — hard. Twenty-four complete hours of triggers. Watching a woman recount her sexual assault to a panel of shriveled, flaccid, privileged white men determined to trip her up. Heartbreakingly seeing her be stoicly quiet, still attempting to cater to and please the very gender that betrayed her. Every woman who watched the hearing could palpably feel that. We’ve all been there. Women have to be perfect. Men have to yell.
Sexual Assault and Men’s “New Fears”
Nearly every woman I know has been a survivor of some sort of sexual assault or harassment — be it inappropriate talk in her office, being drive-by groped at a frat party, getting drugged at a bar, assaulted while tipsy, or violently raped. There are far too many ways it happens, and I’d venture to say it has happened to about 95% of my female friends.
Want to know how many men I know who have ever been held accountable? Exactly zero.
And it isn’t because I only hang around with golly-gee-shucks bang-up guys. I recognize that some of the men I know, that I’ve associated with, are perpetrators of sexual assault. Perhaps not perpetrators of the only kind of sexual assault men are taught, the jump-from-the-bushes-rape (though they don’t seem to be punished for that either), but in some form or another, I am aware that some of the men I know, by virtue of statistics, are perpetrators. Because 95% of women in an area can’t be victims of a sexual assault while 0% of men are guilty of it.
So when men say they’re afraid now, that anything they could do could be misconstrued as sexual in nature? First, welcome to being a woman in all of recorded time. More importantly, though, the men who are so terrified that he could be accused are most likely playing through a scenario/scenarios in their minds of a time when he went too far. For the first time, men are being called out for their shitty sexual behavior in mass numbers. And honestly? There are some good men out there who are carefully looking at their own behaviors of the past, and to that, I say GOOD. Reflect on events you now question. Reflect on whether you actually had consent. Most likely, if it has popped into your mind, you probably shouldn’t have done it. Take what you are learning and use it to be a better man. Don’t bitch and complain about how you can’t willy-nilly grab a tit without repercussions any longer.
Men, let me help you out here. It boils down to this: do you want to know how not be to accused of sexual assault? Don’t fucking assault anyone.
But what about the timing?
Look, I can count on two hands the incidents of sexual assault or violence that have happened to me (and I worked at a country club for six years, so I’m not even counting the gropes and comments I got while there). Thirty-four-and-a-half years of life, varying degrees of sexual assault, none reported. Well, I tried reporting one. The first question I was asked was whether I’d been drinking. So I left. I knew how that would play out, even as young as I was, so I decided I’d deal with the guilt and the anger and the regret myself, that I’d bottle it up and cram it so far down into the pits of my body that it would never come up again. Except that it did. When it happened again to me, and when it happened to my friends. Every new incident, every trigger, it made it harder for me to keep the bottled up, broken pieces of anger buried down. I’ve still never really talked specifics with anyone, nor do I anticipate bearing that part of my soul today. Some things, though fifteen years old, are still too much to hear coming out of your own mouth. It’s hard enough to deal with the thoughts, much less the actual, audible words.
But I will tell you this.
If I saw any one of those men making a move into a power position — a Supreme Court Justice, a Senator, a President — you better goddamn well believe I will say something.
Most men who are never held accountable don’t get better with time, especially privileged white boys; they only see that that there is no misstep, no crime, no transgression they can commit that cannot be combated and nullified by their own male white privilege. The Brock Turners of the world grow up to be Brett Kavanaughs, who then make laws easier for Brock Turners. At some point, we have to say no. I couldn’t report it for myself, but if I saw a bad person poised to become a powerful person, I’d swallow the fear and the doubt, and the knowledge that I’m essentially upending my life, and I’d say something.
This woman had nothing to gain. Women who accuse powerful men of sexual assault don’t become popular. No one sends them teeth-whitening kits to hock on Instagram, no one offers them a spot on Dancing With the Stars. I’m willing to bet that no one can name one of Bill Cosby’s sixty-plus accusers. She was driven from her home with death threats against herself and her family. She has been crucified in the media. She has gained absolute. jack. shit. from this, aside from doing the right thing, and she chose to do it anyway. In stories I will tell my children, I will always tell them about Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and how she stood up for what was right, even though she lost everything in return.
So do I question timing? Absolutely not. If this woman were a man reporting sexual assault from a Catholic priest thirty years later, every media source on earth would be calling her “brave” and “heroic.” Instead, Fox News contributor Kevin Jackson calls her and the other accusers “lying skanks” and told them, in a now-deleted tweet, to “stop opening your legs and open a book.” (I will give credit where credit is due: Fox News fired him.) Her timing has nothing to do with whether she was assaulted. If you believe she was assaulted, her reporting time doesn’t matter, and for old, white Republicans to discredit her because of her legitimate fears of retaliation is nothing short of cowardly.
Men, you do not get to cause our trauma and then dictate how we heal from it.
Due Process, Guilt, and Why None of that Matters
Lots of Internet lawyers in the last few weeks. “Due process” and “no evidence” and “beyond a reasonable doubt” and so on and so forth. Except here’s the thing: though it looked one hell of a lot like one, this was not a trial. It was a job interview. When you’re applying for a new job, what’s the first thing you do? You shut down your social media, or in the least, you clean it up. Why? because you don’t want your employer to see anything that could potentially get you excluded from the position. Let’s say you apply to be a bank teller. You have two people up for the position. One is accused of sexual assault. You don’t need a criminal conviction for the bank head to be all, “Naw, we’re going with the guy who isn’t accused of a sex crime.” That is the way interviews work. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is a criminal standard. All you need is a whisper to keep you from getting a promotion.
And make no mistake, this happens all the time to normal people. They just aren’t white Republicans who want to be on the Supreme Court. Every single day, people are passed over for jobs and promotions based on allegations, and most employers are smart enough to know that they don’t want their wagons hitched to a potential sexual predator when there are plenty of other available options out there. It’s just that the Senate Republicans aren’t as smart an employer as First National Bank of Nowhere.
If Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t become a United States Supreme Court Justice, you know what he’ll be? A rich white judge.
But Kavanaugh cried!
I’ve seen a few men like Kavanaugh cry, most notably, the one who tried to throw me from a third-floor balcony, and let me tell you, that wasn’t the worst from him. One of the calling cards of an abuser is manipulation, and there’s where the tears came. He didn’t cry because he’s been wrongly accused, or because he’s sincerely sorry. He cried because for the first time in his life, his rich whiteboy privilege isn’t used as a get out of jail free card. Even if he is confirmed, he had to at least stand before his accuser. He was publicly called out. You’ll notice his anger, his eye-rolling, his smugness through the hearing? Until it was time for him to testify, he truly believed he was above the process. He treated the entire hearing as a joke until it was time for him to pay the piper, and he started believing that he might be held accountable for his reprehensible behavior.
Yeah, he cried, but I’ve seen too many of those tears to be tricked by them now.
What I Believe
I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. I believe she has give consistent testimony. I believe she disclosed the assault to her therapist six years ago. I believe she gave the most powerful statement I’ve seen in a hearing yesterday, while the SCOTUS nominee, a nominee for a supposed non-partisan role, swore retribution on liberals, the Clintons and the media. I believe in the anger I saw from Judge Kavanaugh. I believe Dr. Ford.
I believe that the panel believes her.
And I believe that they simply don’t care.
I believe that party unity matters more to Senate Republicans that anything. I believe there is no offense, no transgression, no heinous event that could disqualify whomever they have chosen to lead. I believe that later today, the Senate will confirm an accused sexual predator to the highest court of this country without an investigation. And I believe that the sheep will rejoice for “owning the libs,” even if it meant putting a potential rapist on the Supreme Court.
So here we are, at the day of reckoning.
Women, remember where you have been in the last two days. Sit in silence for a moment, reflect on it. Sear it into your brain and into your heart. Remember how you felt when your country, your elected officials, told you, in no uncertain terms, that they simply don’t give a damn what happens to you. That they are willing to sacrifice your safety, your healing, and your opinion for a Supreme Court seat. Remember the indignant, bloated faces of the men chosen to stare down Dr. Ford as she recounted the most traumatic day of her life. Remember how they chose to have a public hearing, splaying her grief to the nation, in lieu of an investigation. Remember how they brought in a sex crimes prosecutor to question the survivor, but reverted to the cigar-smoking boys club when questioning the alleged perpetrator. Remember the humiliation and belittling Dr. Christine Balasey Ford endured.
Are you angry? You should be.
What the cowardly men of this world don’t realize is that their day of reckoning is upon them. The American women are sick of their shit. Good men? Now’s the time for you to step up to the plate, but make no mistake, we will change this country with or without you. You are either with us or against us, on the way or in the way, and this movement will not stop because of one event. If November 2016 taught women anything, it’s the power of their own voices.
Today could change everything for us. Today could make everything harder. Today could make the fight longer.
Go ahead and bring that shit on.Bring that fight to us and lay it at our feet.
No one is better equipped to fight an uphill battle than a woman whose told her voice doesn’t matter.
No one is better suited to change the world than those who are told they can’t.
Hell hath no fury like a woman.
And today is the day to start bring the fire of hell to burn down this establishment.