Christine Blasey Ford deserves to be heard
Watching the confirmation proceedings that could end up promoting Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court, it’s hard to believe the #MeToo movement has been running at full throttle for the past year.
After all, if it has taught us anything, it is this: women’s claims of sexual harassment and assault against powerful men should not be disbelieved and dismissed out of hand.
But that is exactly what is happening to Christine Blasey Ford. The weight of the Republican party has been brought to bear against her before the Senate Judiciary Committee has even heard testimony from her about her claim that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when she was 15 years old.
By now, readers will be familiar with the details of her claim: Blasey says she was at a house party in the 1980s when Kavanaugh, then 17, pushed her into a bedroom and tried to remove her clothes. When she tried to scream, he put his hand over her mouth. “I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” she told the Washington Post.
These are serious accusations from a credible witness that deserve a full, fair hearing. But she is being undermined and attacked in a manner that suggests little has been learned in the decades since lawyer Anita Hill accused Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.
For example, Senator Orrin Hatch, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, belittled Blasey as “mixed up.” At the same time he praised Kavanaugh as a “really good man” by “any measure.”
President Donald Trump has said Kavanaugh “is not a man that deserves this” and added “I think it’s a very unfair thing what’s going on.” He worried about what Kavanaugh’s family is going through, when it’s Blasey’s family who have been forced to relocate because of death threats.
And Senate Republican candidate Chris McDaniel told a radio audience he hoped Americans weren’t “falling for” Blasey’s account because “these allegations, 99 per cent of the time, are just absolutely fabricated.”
As Hill wrote this week in the New York Times: “In 1991, the Senate Judiciary Committee had an opportunity to demonstrate its appreciation for both the seriousness of sexual harassment claims and the need for public confidence in the character of a nominee to the Supreme Court. It failed on both counts.”
Sadly, history seems to be repeating itself.