I woke with a start after only four hours. I had been listening to a podcast late at night, when the name of my own #MeToo surfaced. I had also seen a map of the town this week where he came from (it’s small enough that I’m sure I could track him down. Being a smart neocon, I bet he’s probably successful. Who knows? I don’t have the strength to look it up, yet).
I lived through Anita Hill’s debacle. Do we have to go through it again? I lived through Christine Blasey Ford’s nightmare. I too could not face what I knew, what every woman my age knew: that reporting leads to escalation, and escalation leads to the victim — boy, girl, woman, man — and you’re thrown out. I told about it only to intimate figures in my life — husband, boyfriends, children who came of age.
On Saturday I couldn’t look at the press. My husband, Fred, an editor who knows politics, had spared me the news of nominee Brett Kavanagh’s rape (which at that point was still an anonymous accusation) until after work on Friday. (Fred says: “I waited to tell Ruth because I knew it would disturb her, especially in view of her history, and would distract her from her work.”)
Now the question was whether it would derail his nomination. I knew the news that was released on Friday would be played out by Monday, with three possibilities in the “blame the victim” rape culture in which we live:
- The information that came to light will be dismissed, and the rapist will be put on the Supreme Court. This seemed the most likely outcome on Saturday, when the story was not on the front page above the fold of theNew York Times.
- The vulnerable hero will bravely come forward and will be roundly belittled and dismissed. (This is the nightmare that all persons who have been raped fear the most.)
- The vulnerable hero will bravely face the nation, as Anita Hill did. She will be put on trial in the court of public opinion, and her loved ones, colleagues, and most of all she herself will have to field all the horrific comments, death threats, etc., for doing the right thing, the brave thing, that very few victims of rape can do.
It’s no excuse that “men think with their dicks” or “boys will be boys” or any other outrageous statement that a content, complicit man will say, think, or do.
How can Christine Blasey be so brave, is all I need to know. Plus two other things:
We cannot shield children from allegations that their fathers are rapists, and witnesses will testify no matter how many decades old — then it’s time for them to step back to resign for “family” reasons. (Think of your children, Brett).
Congress could institute real, national changes in laws to protect women now. Recess for Mid-terms, or no.
Enough is enough. #MeToo should now flip into #Enough. Meanwhile, Congress — Democrats and Republicans — should amend (ERA) and legislate. After all, it had to make lynching a federal crime though murder has and had always been illegal and a state and local crime.