Last year, as Brett Kavanaugh seemed headed toward certain confirmation as a Supreme Court justice, Christine Blasey Ford, a former high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s–came forward and accused him of sexually assaulting her at a party.
Immediately, I was skeptical. Kavanaugh denied not only the assault, but even being at the same party with her. That was a pretty hard denial, as all it would have taken to sink him would have been for someone to corroborate that he was at the same party with Ford.
Not even one of her friends could do that.
During her testimony, she insisted that she had no political motive. But the way she did that told me she was full of it. MrsLarijani also felt this was BS.
In a conversation with someone who was centrist, here is what I said at the time. She asked me what I do to protect women, so I gave her a complete answer.
I promised I’d get back to you on this. So…what do I do on behalf of women regarding their mistreatment? First off, I don’t limit myself to the mere mistreatment of women. I’m opposed to all abusers, and I act in my spheres of influence on behalf of those impacted by them.
I’ve encouraged victims to take appropriate action against their bosses. I’ve helped one of them record a meeting, risking my own job in the process. I’ve helped direct some to shelters and encouraged them to press charges. I’ve been a designated driver at events where there is drinking. I also look for people who might be putting things in drinks.
When I was a youth minister, I immediately realized my pastor was an abuser. Did I resign? No. That would have been the easy way out. Instead, I took him on, even alienating myself with leaders–ladies and gentlemen on the Personnel Committee–who would later seek to fire me for taking on that abusive pastor. It got me several negative references when I went to other churches, and it took me longer to earn the trust of those other churches, but it’s a price I have no regret paying.
As someone who works on the security team at my church, I am LOOKING for bad guys. And not necessarily ones who are armed. I assume the abuser could be someone on ministerial staff, someone I otherwise find likeable.
So the question is, what do I do if a child comes to me and says John Doe asked him (or her) to do something, or touched him (or her) somewhere, or…[name the act]?
While it may not have corroboration, I would still immediately report it to the police and tell the appropriate leaders about it. The accusation could be something, or it could be nothing. It may be indeterminate, but that could change if someone else comes forward.
If a woman tells me she’s being abused, I’m going to direct her to the shelter, and report what I must. I will also encourage her to file the police report. Aside from my own experiences with abusers, I once dated a gal–a former running buddy–who had been physically and sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriends. She is about the same age as LA. It took a while before I realized she was bulimic. Damn-near went broke trying to save her.
So yeah, I do what I can in my sphere of influence. Still, when it comes to #BelieveWomen, I think the question is wrong. I neither believe nor disbelieve accusations; instead, my position is to take them seriously–because their veracity is very possible–and encourage appropriate action. If it’s something criminal in nature, I push them to press the charges, because that is what is likely to start the ball rolling toward real change.
The accusations may be true but unsubstantiable; I believe that, if that is the case, we will one day know the truth, even if that doesn’t happen in a timetable I would prefer.
The accusations may be true, and subsequent investigation–and I’m talking law enforcement, not in-house folks–corroborates it. Then you can take it to the house.
They may also be false. I say that not as a, “Women lie all the time!” line that misogynists use, but rather an acknowledgement that members of both sexes have been known to tell lies, especially when they have motive. And contrary to popular opinions, we humans generally do a horrible job of telling whether someone is truthful or lying.
There are times when the circumstances–which establish a motive–compel me to take accusations seriously while having an understandable skepticism. Being skeptical in those cases hardly makes one a misogynist or one who would shove victims aside. Quite the contrary: the liars are in fact the ones who ruin it for the victims.
That brings me to the case of Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford.
I did everything I could to maintain an open mind on that one. But I had serious problems:
(1) No corroboration whatsoever. Everyone she named was unable to so much as place themselves, let alone Kavanaugh and Ford, at a party that she described. Had there been one classmate who would have vouched for that much under oath, it would have been enough to demand explanation.
(2) Not even her friends recalled her mentioning anything about the alleged event at the time.
(3) While her not filing a police report then would have been understandable, that she did not file one recently–even though the police said they would investigate if she did–makes me question her motives. If he is an abuser, then reporting him now would at least trigger an investigation. If there are other victims–and if he is an abuser, there will be many victims–they could be discovered in the process of that investigation.
(4) The way Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) handled the “letter” tells me that this was a political matter, not a criminal one. If she took Ford’s account seriously and wanted to stop what she believed to be an abuser, she would have sent this to the FBI.
(Think about it: if I’m in a church, and someone comes to ME with a story like that, what do you think I’m going to do? Give it to the police, that’s what! I don’t NEED permission from the accuser to do that.)
(5) She has a motive to lie, and that motive is political. When she answered this issue with the, “Anyone who knows me knows I would never…” line, my cynicism meter spiked.
(6) While many found her story to be compelling, I did not. In fact, she came across to me as an actor. And she could do that, given that (a) she’s a PhD in psychology and (b) therefore she would know how to construct a story that would appeal to anyone who knows the first thing about that kind of trauma. I have friends who are in that boat who also weren’t buying it.
Now does this mean I think Kavanaugh is all that and a pound of bourbon-cured honey bacon? Not necessarily. He could turn out to be great, or he could turn out to be horrible. He could be upstanding, or he could be scandalous. Sometimes, God allows time for one’s sin to find him or her out. Could that happen with Kavanaugh? You bet, assuming he’s a psychopath.
In the case of judicial nominees (including SCOTUS), my views on the matter are comparable with Lindsey Graham’s: Presidents ought to have wide latitude in those picks, because elections have consequences. This is why I have no problem with Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan or Sotomayor on the bench, as much as I disagree with their views on almost everything of major importance.
I just see no compelling reason to keep Kavanaugh off the bench, and an uncorroborated accusation from his high school days doesn’t cut the mustard. I found it ridiculous that this devolved into haggling over yearbook comments or who said what about whom.
Fact is, there were gals and guys–during my high school days–with whom I had a hostile relationship at the time, but who are now FB friends of mine today and we get along like we were buddies all along. I have other folks who were good friends back then but, due to a number of factors, are very chilly toward me (and vice versa) today.
There were also a number of things we all joked about–and yes, sex was among those–and that’s all it was: jokes. Locker-room banter. Yes, I confess to having said, “I even wouldn’t put an American flag over so-and-so and do her for Old Glory!” a few times during high school. It was a common joke among us guys, and–while I’m not proud of that–we’re really screwed as a country if those juvenile moments are enough to stop a guy like me from being in a position of public trust today.
The crowd with whom I hung out, a few of whom were in the top 10% of the class–talked a lot of smack about sex, but I can also tell you we weren’t into chasing the gals: we hit our books, got our grades, played sports together, and stayed away from the party scene. But if we’ve reached the point where we’re going to mount character assassinations–based in part on such banter in high school–all because we don’t like a person’s politics, then we have a larger problem in this country.
We are now learning that she indeed had a political motive. Her own attorney said so.