As is the case with countless victims of sexual assault, the past two weeks have not been easy to navigate. From aspersions being cast, to the Senate Majority Leader literally calling Dr. Blasey Ford a liar on the Senate floor, the feelings that have been released are muddled and myriad.
I lay in bed a couple nights ago trying to talk more of this out as my husband listened, struggling with his own array of emotional fallout because he cannot make any of it stop. He can no more protect me from what goes on inside my head as he can from what happened to me 36 years ago. So he listens.
I rambled about it playing on a loop in my head. How I can still, to this day, feel the seatbelt clasp digging into my shoulder. I talked about trying to place it on a spectrum in my head - as if that is possible - because I know that my rape, compared to so many, was brief. It was the grab, the action, the threats, and then being tossed out. For others there is so much more.
I talked about how one of my dearest friends endured horrors I cannot even begin to imagine. How death was an imminent possibility. How there was damage, so much damage on so many levels. How, while I know she would never marginalize my experience against hers, I cannot help but do it to myself. Maybe because it is how my brain still tries to make it "not so bad" by reminding myself of how BAD bad can be.
No matter. While there is a spectrum of bad for this like so many other things in life, rape is rape. It is an act of violence, of possession, of stripping someone of their autonomy, their personhood, their dignity. It is a taking without permission. It is being treated like garbage, and tossed aside as the same.
Staring into the dark, I tried to explain the anger that has been building. Yes, of course anger that it happened. That has been alive and kicking for 36 years. But this is more. Bigger. This is rage. This is a fury born of watching, listening as not only Dr. Blasey Ford, but survivor after survivor has come forward with their stories, only to be scoffed at, disbelieved, called liars.
Watching GOP women be interviewed and defend the actions attributed to Kavanaugh with bullshit such as this, "Tell me, what boy hasn’t done this in high school?”
What the actual fuck? Are you serious? There are millions of boys in high school right now who have no intent of trying to corner, rape, cover the mouth of a young girl. There are millions more who have gone through their high school years without a single assault in their records. I am angry on behalf of all the young men who were literally written off as potential rapists by these pathetic excuses for women, for mothers.
I see redder every time another person writes off rape because we did not report it when it happened. Rationalizing that it must not have been "that bad." The orange BLOTUS tweeted this very thing about Blasey Ford's accusation. Listen up - 63% of sexual assaults are not reported.
This notion that there must be broken bones, bloodied lips, black eyes, uncontrollable screaming or crying for it to be SEXUAL ASSAULT? Get over that now. Rape and the reaction of the assaulted comes in every possible variant. Crying? Sure. But we may also be numb, mute. Bruises and blood? Absolutely. Or not. And no matter how it went down or how one is responding, IT IS ALL BAD. IT IS A VIOLATION. IT IS A TRAUMA. IT IS ASSAULT.
One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives. Do you understand what this means? It means whether you are aware of it or not, been confided in or not, YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. Chances are, you know many people who are forever chained to a horrific violation, an act against them that changed them.
I reached out to my friend to check on her. I figured if this is the place I find myself, than I must not be alone. I'm not. Despite the miles of horror that separate our rape experiences, she is in the same place - "white hot rage."
That same rage directed at the legislators who have already scheduled Kavanaugh's vote despite Dr. Ford being scheduled to appear before them on Thursday; despite there now being multiple women having stepped forward with accounts of his behavior towards them and others; despite these women being supported by men who knew him and how he behaved.
Fury directed at each and every person who laughs at our stories, minimizes our trauma, shits on our bravery in finally finding our voices.
I am angry for every young girl burdened with a father currently defending Trump (who admits to sexual assault, and has a cadre of women who have stepped forward with their stories about him), defending Kavanaugh (boys will be boys - good luck with that when your little girl is the next victim). I am infuriated at the stupidity Kavanaugh believes we will buy - his FOX interview in which he points at his calendars from high school and his virginity as being reasons he could not have done this.
Sidenote for Kavanaugh - priests take vows of chastity for life. They also touch, rape, pillage, and terrorize.
I am enraged because despite the mounting accusations and evidence, the GOP refuses to put forth a different nominee. As if this is the best they have got, or worse, they simply do not give a shit other than getting a NO ROE vote on the SCOTUS.
I am sickened and beyond horrified at this morning's latest addition to this dumpster fire: Julie Swetnick, who holds multiple government clearances, came forward with her sworn declaration about not only seeing Kavanaugh and his buddy Judge lined up at repeated house parties to take their turns gang raping helpless, drugged girls, but her story of being one of those girls.
I am especially galled at the apologists who have lined up to make Ford's assault something less than what it was. (And the line of naysayers about Swetnick has started in earnest as well.)
Stephen Miller of FOX News blew it off with "it was drunk teenagers playing seven minutes of heaven."
John Cardillo called it a "non crime."
Megan McArdle waved it off with the notion that people did not take this kind of thing seriously when Kavanaugh was in high school. ( I was raped in high school, Megan. I took it very seriously. Or maybe it is more accurate to say IT TOOK ME VERY SERIOUSLY and has never let go.)
Megyn Kelley defended it with this gem, “Maybe he blew her off.” Yes, Megyn, he blew her off and that stayed with her for so long and so deeply that she confided in a therapist about what happened to her. Turn in your ovaries, Megyn, or go back to FOX, most of us women are not Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction.
And the anger I feel at this mindset, attributed to a White House attorney? “If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried. We can all be accused of something.”
I have news for you - if you don't have a history of being an entitled piece of shit, belonging to things like Kavanaugh's fraternity's Tit and Clit Club, treating women as chattel, or sexually assaulting someone, you don't have much to worry about. This bullshit notion put forth by legislators that no Republican can be voted onto the court now? That this is just 11th hour politicking by Democrats? Um, Gorsuch ring a bell? He was voted onto the SCOTUS, no accusations, and Democrats did give him some votes.
The anger builds with every story I read from brave men and women who are finding strength in numbers, a strength that empowers them to finally share their own story. From millions with no face or fame to celebrities stepping forward - sharing our stories helps. It can never unring the bell, never give back what was taken, never unchain us from the broken person left stunted inside us - but it does give us community. It lets us see we are not alone - not in what happened, how we responded, how it has followed us all our lives.
My friend and I are not alone in our mounting anger. And while anger alone may not make any difference in Kavanaugh's vote on Friday, where it can make a difference is at the polls. There has been much talk about a Blue Wave, a tsunami taking out the power of the GOP. But what we are seeing build alongside it now is a red hot lava flow of anger.
For their every word of derision, every call of LIAR, every marginalization of what we have endured, their goal is clear. They do not care who they hurt. So whether these cretins are drowned by a wave or burned up by a fire, I do not care. They simply must be eradicated.
They do not get to rape us again.
You can read Julie Swetnick's declaration below. Click on each thumbnail for large version.