Nicole Chardenet in Women's Issues, Consulting Community, English Humorous Fantasy Novelist • (and occasional s**t-disturber) Oct 2, 2018 · 5 min read · +400

Christine Blasey Ford Just Raised The Bar For Feminism

Christine Blasey Ford Just Raised The Bar For Feminism

Christine Blasey Ford is my new hero, even though I’m not keen on her timing. But regardless of whether party boy and kegger king Brett “Boofer” Kavanaugh (we should make that his nickname!) gets confirmed or not, this Supreme Court confirmation debacle is a win for feminism and sexual assault victims in many ways. This is very important to remember, because if Kavanaugh gets confirmed, there will be lamentations of the women about how this is the end of the world and that it’s a huge blow to sexual assault victims everywhere who feel like they won’t be believed.

Ford’s killer testimony demonstrates how courageous women can end the stigma of being a sexual assault victim, which I hope will empower those feminists who over-identify with helplessness and female fragility, and who enable enduring helplessness by constantly reiterating the narrative that they won’t be believed. Apparently no man is ever convicted of sexual assault in America, or brought down by those allegations years or even decades later.

It's not true that women simply aren't believed anymore. Not in this day of social media and #MeToo terrorizing misogynists and sexual abusers at every level, from Wall Street to professional sports to what's left of manufacturing and now the federal government. It's still an ugly playing field out there for women, but it's not actually much better for any man who dares to report sexual harassment, sexual abuse or domestic violence by women (yes, it does exist, and men aren't much inclined to report it either, preferring to suffer in silence.) Anyone who's not 'manly enough' in those same trollish eyes gets abused, doxed, and threatened just as badly.

The Ford/Kavanaugh back-and-forth-more-twists-than-a-Hitchcock-movie on the mainstream media (or ‘fake news’ if you’re a nutjob) just dealt a near-killing blow to the notion that sexual assault victims aren’t credible. Ford, with bigger balls than any of the aging white semi-corpses listening to her testimony, kept her cool, was polite the entire time, answered all the questions with quiet aplomb, and when questioned on the accuracy of her memory of a traumatic event that happened over 35 years ago, responded with a cool neuroscientific explanation of precisely how trauma encodes itself in memory. And her credentials were impeccable on this matter. She’s a research psychologist and Ph.D explaining this to a committee of creatures with brains the size of a walnut.

Not a single one of her interrogators was even remotely qualified to respond to that. Mostly because Ben Carson was off buying furniture somewhere.

Not even the fembots and dick-slingers on Fox News could bring themselves to condemn Ford. Her testimony was that good.

And she wasn’t the one who cried the most.

But then, an ugly twist

Senator Lindsey Graham, tired of taking crap from the Pussygrabber-In-Chief for occasionally exhibiting independent thought, sucked up to his lord and master with this strident rant:

Suddenly, the tide turned. Rank misogyny was okay in America again. It began to look as though Boofer’s chances had vastly improved, along with Fox News’s ratings and the regained ability to spew toxic bile.

But then, some sexual assault victims cornered Republican Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator. He’d seemed conflicted on whether to vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation or not, then stated he was ready to goose-step and confirm. He didn’t have the balls to look these imploring women in the eye, answer their single question or respond with anything other than sheepish ‘thank you’s.

And the tide turned again. Shortly after that, Flake went into a private meeting with Senate Democrat Chris Coons and returned saying he’d vote to advance the confirmation, but wanted the FBI investigation. Democrats wanted it but Republicans and especially Kavanaugh didn’t, which a certain Orange Menace insisted was something he couldn’t order. Without that investigation, though, Flake was gonna flake on Kavanaugh.

Somebody informed the Alpha Sexual Predator that ordering an FBI investigation is in fact a bullet point on his job description, and so he’s knuckled under and ordered one, with extra sauce and super-sized fries.

And then there’s Kavanaugh college drinking buddy Beth Swisher, who says she never witnessed any sexually aggressive behaviour, but refutes the notion that Yale University’s biggest Belushi was all about church and studying.

I don’t know how this will ultimately pan out, especially with the Human Cheeto now meddling to hobble the investigation - but even if Kavanaugh gets confirmed, I think this fiasco will be another, somewhat modest victory for women over the truly sickening misogyny and bigotry that has enveloped not just the Ignited States but now threatens Canada and Europe.

Ford just demonstrated how strong a woman can be

One of the biggest lessons I’ve drawn from this past week is that when you speak authoritatively about your experience, like Ford did when she crushed her enemies like bugs with an impeccable neuroscientific explanation for why her ancient memory is just fine, thankyouverymuch, your credibility shoots a hole in the roof. She probably can’t remember why she walked into the kitchen yesterday but that’s not the sort of event that one’s norepinephrine and epinephrine customarily encode into the hippocampus.

Her Republican tormentors spent this entire weekend looking up all those big words in the dictionary.

How Ford managed to give that testimony, given the massive amount of stress she was under, is something I can only admire from afar, especially since she and her family have been heaped with all the very worst abuse by trolls and cowards who demonstrate that yeah, there will always be those who don't believe assault victims - or wish they would just STFU. But...maybe the long wait has given her more coping and emotional control skills, especially as a trained psychologist, to do so. The problem is, while she's getting her revenge on Kavanaugh better-late-than-never, he may still get confirmed. Also, I suspect time is running out on this notion that sexual assault victims can wait until they're 'ready' to tell their story. Like it or not, a crime should be reported at the time. And that's FAIR. This is democracy, where innocence of the accused is presumed until proven otherwise. It doesn't mean his presumed innocence means his accuser is necessarily lying, it means the allegation has not yet been proven in court. Women themselves are part of the reason why we have lower sexual assault conviction rates than we should. Waiting too long is why these cases often get thrown out for lack of evidence. Not because she was 'lying', but because she'd destroyed the evidence in the shower.

The tide has changed in many ways for women since #MeToo and #TimesUp. Women are surrounding the wagons and challenging the misogynists and abusers. We can do better, we can be stronger. We can all aspire to be more like Christine Blasey Ford.

Otherwise, when you wait too long, it remains he-said-she-said.

The lesson that will scare the crap out of feminists

Ford has just raised the bar for female fortitude and empowerment.

If there’s more powerful testimony of sexual assault by a woman anywhere, I don’t know about it. Ford held her own under the scrutiny of the elected misogynists of the Republican Party. If you think testifying as the victim in a rape trial is re-traumatizing, just imagine doing it in front of the angriest cabal of the Angry White Male contingent in aging misogyny’s Ground Zero of the Ignited States.

I imagine her testimony wouldn’t have been nearly as smooth had she told her story at 17, when the alleged attack took place (and it remains alleged since it’s yet to be proven, even though I believe her). On the other hand, maybe Kavanaugh’s life would have shaken out differently had she accused him in 1982. Even if that accusation was thrown out for lack of evidence, it would have stayed on his record for awhile and maybe shaken him enough, perhaps with a little help from his parents if they didn’t want to see their Baby Boy throw away his privileged life, that maybe he would have shaped up, at least a little. Just speculating here, because I remember the '70s and '80s and they didn't all get away with it, unless they went unreported.

Instead the lesson he learned that night was there were no consequences for overprivileged males.

The ugly truth many women don't want to confront is that not reporting the crime right after it happens perpetuates the very real problem of those entitled males thinking they have a right to women’s bodies, particularly when they’ve been drinking, themselves or the women. It's 2018, not 1978. #TimesUp, ladies. 

This is what helps keep 'rape culture' alive. By showering away the evidence and not telling anyone. It’s not fair, but that’s how it is. What I see today is more and more women, empowered by #MeToo and #TimesUp, standing up for their assaulted sisters. There will always be disbelievers of women’s testimonies, but it’s no longer blanket-statement true that ‘women are not believed’. They ARE believed, even if the poll numbers will never reflect 100%. 

Just ask Bill Cosby.

The part that will make amnesiacs uncomfortable

There may one day be a backlash to the #MeToo movement that bites women in the ass and gets them fired years or even decades down the road.

Senator Graham had a point when he lashed out about how a woman can come forward many years later to essentially ruin a man’s career. Brett Kavanaugh did something that probably he’d write off as “typical dumb shit” that many of us tag our high school and university imbroglios with, if he could actually remember it. So, do people have to live sinless lives before they can take certain jobs? Is Jesus Christ the only viable candidate for the current Court vacancy? Has anyone examined the lives of the current Supreme Court Justices to see if there any alleged assaults in their pasts? Or RALF membership or allegations of ‘boofing’ (or, more likely for conservative Republicans, ‘bufu-ing’. Consult the lyrics of the old ‘80s novelty song Valley Girl if you don’t know the difference.) There is something more than a little Bork-y about this nomination obliteration effort. 

What if it wasn’t Brett Kavanaugh, but a female Supreme Court Justice wannabe? And what if her crime was, maybe not sexual assault, but let’s say she was a high school bully who drove her victim to suicide. Would we be as outraged about that, or would be we outraged that politicians were trying to Bork a perfectly qualified female candidate? Would women be pulling a Graham on the Senate floor or a Flake in the elevator? Food for thought.

How many of us can claim largely sin-free lives? How many of us have skirted the edge of the law, or hurt others, and totally forgotten about it? It’s entirely possible Brett Kavanaugh really can’t remember the alleged incident the night it happened. You might be surprised what you can't remember, drunk or sober.

I'm not trying to make excuses for him. There are now multiple allegations of sexual assault that sound even worse than Ford's and I don't know what the FBI investigation will conclude or if Republicans will even give a damn. "Let's just get this thing over with so Flake will vote to confirm. I'll get Fearless Leader to tweet him into submission if necessary." 

Can you think of anything you did when you were much younger that you wouldn’t want dredged up if you were going for a high-level, highly public position? Especially when you possessed a teenage brain which we know isn’t fully matured yet and prone to making really really bad decisions, whether it’s going to a party with underage drinking you know your parents wouldn’t approve of, or getting so hammered you think attempted rape is not just acceptable but hilarious.

I can’t remember anything either. But who knows.

Nicole Chardenet wonders if she may have hurt others in the past and can’t remember because she wasn’t the victim. She can, however, remember quite clearly one guy from high school who physically assaulted her twice (not sexually) for whom she could probably make life miserable if he is ever nominated for the Supreme Court. Nicole was recently informed by an ex-boyfriend of something supremely insensitive she once said to him in a shopping mall food court almost thirty years ago that she has zero memory of which further demonstrates that victims

remember stuff more than the other party does.

Kate Clancy Matt Aug 6, 2020 · #36

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Alex Jessica Jul 5, 2020 · #35

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Alex Jessica Jul 5, 2020 · #34

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Alex Jessica Jul 5, 2020 · #33

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Alex Jessica Jul 5, 2020 · #32

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Brian McKenzie Oct 8, 2018 · #31

#29 I don't go swimming in oceans because of sharks - extrapolate appropriately.

+1 +1
Jennifer Leach-Trask Oct 7, 2018 · #30

#27 I can't even begin t speak about the hearings, maybe later today when I find my voice.

+2 +2
Claire L Cardwell Oct 7, 2018 · #29

#28 Brian McKenzie, I understand I really do, having actually been 'the other side of the fence' - but deep down I think you are a lovely guy and some us ladies are OK, don't you think it's a wee bit unfair to deny the other half of the world's human population the pleasure of your company from time to time.... ? Just sayin' (You can always have a fast car and driver on standby for a quick exit.)