It’s Not Fear But Opportunism That Drives Blasey Ford
It’s Not Fear But Opportunism That Drives Blasey Ford
Today’s editorial on the Fox News website really struck a nerve with me. Fox contributor Leslie Marshall works hard to explain why Christine Blasey Ford waited so long after the alleged incident with Brett Kavanaugh to make her allegations public. Fear, Marshall claims, was the driving factor behind Ford’s decisionmaking, based on her own sexual assault experience.
In my freshman year of college, I was the victim of something quite similar, on my 18th birthday. I understand why Dr. Ford remained silent. She was afraid. Afraid that no one would believe her – after all, she had been drinking. Fear if it went to court, her sex life would be revealed. Fear she would be judged. Fear her name would be dragged through the mud. And she’s not alone.
In my senior year of college, I was also the victim of something similar – actual rape, not drunken groping, but a violent attack after which the perpetrator was arrested, tried and incarcerated for years.
Yes, there was fear. Yes, there was embarrassment. No, neither one of us had been drinking that fateful night. But when you’re confronted with unspeakable, soul-crushing violence, it would be criminal not to speak out, not to call the police, not to have the perpetrator prosecuted and punished for the crime he (or she – yes, men can and do get raped) committed. Especially when the rapist can go on to victimize others and put them through the same hell as you.
I called the police as soon as I could. Why didn’t Ford?
Marshall cites World Heath Organization statistics to bolster her claim that rape, despite being prevalent in the world, remains one of the most underreported crimes in our nation.
Yes, victims of sexual violence are sometimes judged harshly.
Yes, punishments for rapists are sometimes absurdly lenient.
Yes, juries sometimes unfairly judge victims.
But all these facts are not and should not be excuses for Ford’s opportunistic timing, which undermines Marshall’s assessment of fear as the driving factor behind Ford’s delay.
But remaining silent doesn’t mean forgetting. It just means suffering in silence. Dr. Ford spoke of the psychological trauma. If you Google “psychological factors that inhibit reporting of sexual violence” you’ll find there are numerous articles and studies on this very issue. But the question still remains: Does the length of time that has lapsed after the alleged incident lessen the significance of a victim’s claim?
Here’s the problem with Marshall’s analysis: Ford did forget. She forgot when and where this happened. She forgot the year and the month. She claims she thought Kavanaugh would kill her, and yet, she conveniently forgot details of this alleged attack – details that are etched in my mind as a victim of rape, despite my efforts to put this out of my mind forever!
The car, the highway exit, the empty parking lot, what I was wearing, what he said to me – every single detail has haunted me for years. I woke up screaming in the middle of the night for years after the incident. I fastidiously tracked my assailant’s records and through FOIA requests ensured I knew when he was to be released, what happened to him after he served his sentence, and where he ended up. I bought a gun and obtained my concealed carry permit.
And throughout all these years, I never forgot a single detail.
I’m sure there are victims that work hard to forget, and I can tell you it’s not an easy feat, because the trauma remains with you. Every day. Every breath you take. Every minute – awake or asleep.
So Ford’s claim that it was definitely Kavanaugh and his buddy who assaulted her, while denying that she remembers anything else about the alleged “attack” rings hollow.
And should she or any other victim be believed? Well the National Sexual Violence Resource Center states that 2 to 10 percent of victim’s claims are false. Meaning at least 90 percent are telling the truth.
The “2-10 percent” figure is an estimate, according to the Journal of Forensic Psychology, which used mathematical formulas to determine the number of allegations to be false. But even beyond that, even if the percentage of false accusations is that low, it still translates to thousands of lives that are being destroyed – innocent lives, good men and women who can no longer live their lives and work because someone decided to ruin them, to gain attention at their expense, or to create a “movement” centered around the “crime” they accuse their victim of committing.
And make no mistake, these false accusations create victims.
VanDyke Perry and Gregory Counts were convicted in 1992 of rape, sodomy, and kidnapping. Perry was released in 2001 after 11 years in prison, and Counts was released in August 2017 after 26 years when the “victim” recanted her story. Years wasted in prison for a crime they didn’t commit, and their lives irrevocably ruined. They can’t ever get those years back!
A college slut, who admitted to lying about a gang rape after having pulled a train on two football players because she thought being a skank might ruin her chances with a third guy, rolled her eyes while two guys whom she accused had their college careers destroyed. Both of them withdrew from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut while facing possible discipline, and one of them lost his football scholarship.
Another woman has assiduously worked to destroy the reputation of a fellow student, claiming she woke up in Alex Goldman’s bed, bloodied, bruised, and with her clothing ripped. She immediately called Goldman a rapist on social media, got him fired, and booted from his college. Only problem was that after a medical exam and investigation, there is no credible proof that any intercourse happened at all. The two woke up fully clothed in Goldman’s bed, and neither could remember what happened. Kicked out of school. Fired. Reputation forever tarnished.
Paul Nungesser, an international student from Germany, was not guilty of sexual misconduct stemming from allegations by fellow Columbia University sophomore Emma Sulkowicz, but his reputation was left in tatters due to her constant harassment and he even considered changing his name, according to a CNN report because it haunted him through his professional and personal life.
So while Marshall treats the very real damage caused by false rape reporting as if it’s no big deal, people suffer. Their reputation suffers. Their job prospects suffer. Their families suffer.
And despite Marshall’s excusing Ford’s behavior as motivated by fear, I view it at the very least selfish and at the very worst an outright partisan lie.
So if fear prevented her from reporting this, why come forward now? Well for any woman who has been abused by a man and sees that individual gain influence and power years later, it hits you in the face like a bucket of cold water. It’s shocking, startling, unjust. And it’s a reminder. A reminder of the incident, a reminder of the pain and a reminder that you remained silent. Even in light of the #MeToo movement, only a handful will come forward like Dr. Ford. For the rest, the silence continues.
The assumption here is that Kavanaugh is guilty. The assumption – without any proof whatsoever save for spurious claims by the supposed “victim”—is that she was so traumatized by his nomination, that she had to say something!
Well, she said something in counseling six years ago, so obviously she talked about it then. She said something in July when she gave an opportunistic politician a letter accusing Kavanaugh without a shred of proof and demanded anonymity and when she corresponded with the Washington Post and made her allegations public. She had six years to explore this alleged event with her counselor and inside her own mind, but she decided that lobbing an anonymous accusation right when Kavanaugh was set to be the next Supreme Court nominee, was the best way to go?
He worked as an associate counsel for Independent Counsel Ken Starr – a pretty high-profile position—and was the principal author of the Starr Report.
He argued a case in front of the Supreme Court.
He worked for the Bush White House.
He was US Circuit Court judge for nearly 12 years.
Does Ford really want to claim that only now – when Kavanaugh, who has led a pretty public life, has been nominated to the US Supreme Court – she felt like she’s been hit in the “face like a bucket of cold water?”
Sorry, but I don’t buy it, and I don’t buy Marshall’s excuse for the more than 30-year silence.
If Ford really felt like he could have killed her, she should have reported him to the police to ensure that others don’t suffer the same fate. She should have thought about other victims he may have assaulted – none of whom have come forward and none of whom have lobbed a single allegation at him throughout his years of pretty public service.
If Ford really felt traumatized, she should have said something sooner, instead of waiting until the most opportune time to bring up her allegations.
But instead, Ford waited for the best time to reveal her little surprise – right when Kavanaugh was about to get confirmed as our next Supreme Court justice, and in doing so, she did a disservice to every potential victim whom Kavanaugh may have assaulted in the future, and she cast doubt on other victims’ allegations, making it even harder to trust those who come forward because of the opportunistic timing of her revelation.
Given the fact that her buddy from school admitted to NPR that she did not know what happened, even after posting that it did, the fact that not a single witness remembers the incident, and everyone who was allegedly there denies it, I’d say it’s hardly fear that was driving Ford.
She was just lying.
Featured photo courtesy of Fox News.