In my psychiatric practice over the past 35 years, I have treated numerous women who were sexually assaulted. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation, her story and the time line of her narrative and decisions to disclose are completely credible and follow a typical clinical course following sexual assault. These are scars women carry forever, which may surface in different and damaging ways at various points in their lives.
Our GOP senators, rather than taking this allegation seriously, are instead behaving as the Catholic Church did in its sexual misconduct scandals, rallying around the alleged perpetrator and refusing to investigate. Meanwhile, Dr. Blasey Ford is receiving death threats for coming forward. And we wonder why victims don’t disclose these crimes? Another cover-up of sexual misconduct should not be tolerated.
Mindy Oshrain, M.D.
Who do you believe?
Let’s review the facts. Sen. Dianne Feinstein had this accusation in hand six weeks ago but she did nothing with it. Didn’t ask Brett Kavanaugh about at the hearing or during her one on one meetings with him. She even says now that the accusation may not be truthful.
And what do we know about the accuser? She is a Democrat activist. She does not know how she got to the party, where it was , or even in what year it took place. She told her therapist that there were four people present and now she denies that. The only other person in the room said it never happened. Let’s not forget this is 36 years after the fact.
Kavanaugh has led an exemplary life. He has a letter signed by at least 65 women who knew him in high school and college who swear he always treated them with respect. I ask you who do you believe?
Vincent M. DiSandro
So the leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee doesn’t want law enforcement to investigate credible allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh. Isn’t that exactly what the leadership of the Catholic Church did with credible sexual assault allegations for 70 years in Pennsylvania?
Instead, it seems that the leadership of both entities wanted to do their own, internal, he-said-she-said inquiry, conducted by people with no expertise in crime, criminal investigations, and certainly not in allegations of sexual assault. Powerful men at powerful institutions sure do their best to protect other powerful men.
I will be watching closely to see if Sen. Thom Tillis gives her a fair hearing or if he, like so many other men, makes excuses for rape culture. The writer Simcha Fisher said it best:
“When grown men tell teenage boys that a smattering of attempted rape is normal, expected, excusable behavior; that all boys do something like this because they’re still developing; and that it’s not worth worrying about because it was so long ago, then this is what they’re doing: they’re educating a whole new generation in the uses and abuses of the bodies and psyches of girls and women, for the sake of men, who alone are real.”
Sen. Tillis must think about what he’s implying when he is willing to wave away accusations of attempted rape. Think about what he’s telling girls about what they’re for. Think about what he’s telling boys about what they’re for. Think about who is listening. I am listening. I am watching.
For people with short memories, it was Democrat Joe Biden in his speech in 1992 stating that is not fair for a lame duck president to make such an important decision. And every four years when there is a presidential election, people understand that whomever wins may be choosing a Supreme Court nominee.
And this happened in 2016. The people chose a Republican, so the voters did weigh in. And on separate matter, Kavanaugh has already been vetted approximately six times by FBI.
Treat her with dignity
I am closely following the Kavanaugh hearings and as the accusations of assault have come forward, I find myself reflecting on my own life. I have heard men posit that “he would remember something like this.” That may not be true.
I am a 55-year-old registered Republican — close in age to both parties involved. I vividly remember a boy asserting himself on me in high school in a way that made me uncomfortable. I remember that it happened at a school dance and I remember his name. I am relatively certain that he hasn’t given it another thought. It is difficult for me to listen to men make judgments about what would be remembered and what would not. I am certain that Dr. Ford carried this for a lifetime. I have. And mine was much less.
This, like so much that has been excused as boys being boys, has a lasting effect on the women involved. Even if it happened 30-plus years ago. Rep. Holding, Sen. Tillis and Sen. Burr must treat Ford with dignity and not allow Kavanaugh to be confirmed.
Men don’t get it
Senators, I get that you probably don’t get it. In my experience, most men don’t expect that when they report someone behaving badly, the issue will be turned back on them. But I have, and most of the women I know have experienced that. Too often, when we raise an issue about improper conduct, what we hear back is not supportive, or even neutral, but accusative: What were you doing to encourage that behavior? Are you sure you aren’t imagining it? It’s not really that big a deal, is it?
Yes, it is. It’s a big deal if a woman has a claim about a man who is about to be given a lifetime job on the Supreme Court, and the men in charge can’t be bothered to take enough time to make some credible investigation into her claims.
I’m not saying she’s telling the truth; I don’t know that. But I know that before we appoint someone to one of the highest jobs in our nation for life, we should have a better idea about whether she is telling the truth or not. For this job, character and integrity matters.
Graham is wrong
In dismissing out of hand the sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Franklin Graham has forfeited whatever remaining shred of moral authority he might have claimed as a Christian leader. It’s bad enough that Graham accepts on blind faith Judge Kavanaugh’s denial of the incident but worse yet that he claims that even if the allegation is true it’s “not relevant” because “there wasn’t a crime committed.”
The morality or immorality of an act doesn’t depend solely on whether the act is legal or illegal and, if the allegation against Kavanaugh is true, Kavanaugh’s assault was not only immoral but also unlawful, especially since, despite Graham’s contention, there’s not a shred of evidence that “when she said no … he respected it and walked away.”
Rev. John L. Saxon
This isn’t a criminal trial. The standard is not “innocent until proven guilty” because there isn’t a risk of putting an innocent man in prison. This is a job interview for a lifetime appointment to one of the most powerful jobs on the planet.
The standard here should, in my view, be higher than “he didn’t perjure himself too much, and you haven’t proven he’s an attempted rapist.” If Ford is lying, why would she be so persistent in asking the FBI to be involved? Why would she emerge from her good life to spin what she would know would be an eventually unverifiable tale at the risk of committing the felony of lying to the FBI?
If Kavanaugh is telling the truth, why is the Judiciary Committee so dead set against having the FBI investigate?