Let me start by saying that I have all types of adoration for my fellow women colleagues, friends, associates. I believe in #blackgirlmagic and #girlpower. However, sometimes, we, get in our own way. Like many of you I have been following the confirmation process for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. For those living under a rock, a professor by the name of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, has come forward, initially anonymously (but her identity was leaked), and claimed that when she and Kavanaugh were in high school, she was at a party with him and he attempted to sexually assault her. Her account is that the two of them (and another male friend of his) were in a room at a party when he allegedly forced himself on her in an attempt to sexually assault her. Dr. Ford essentially states that when she started to scream that he covered her mouth. She stated that she thought for a minute that he was going to kill her. Fortunately, she was able to fight him off and escaped the situation, according to her recollection of the event.
As you can imagine, once her identity was known to the public, the classic “he says she says” ensued. It is legitimate for some people to have the reaction that questions her account of the events because it has been about 36 years since the event occurred. It is also not unusual to question the accusation of a woman, given it is not difficult to research and find many cases wherein the woman falsely accused the male of rape or other forms of sexual harassment or assault. See the following links as examples:
With all of that being said, there are also a large number of women, that, I believe, outnumber the proven liars cited above that have indeed experienced trauma related to sexual abuse. Thousands of women are assaulted/abused, that never say one single word out of fear that no one will believe them. In many cases, they are correct, no one will believe them. Therefore, they carry that burden, the trauma with them their whole lives, and in many cases, to the grave. I will go as far as to say, you don’t have to look far back in anyone’s family tree to find a family member who has some untold secret related to an inappropriate sexual misconduct/encounter with a family member, a family friend, a neighbor, coach, priest, mentor, SOMEBODY. It is widespread and this is true for both girls AND boys.
The reason that I am focused on women tripping, as reflected in the title, is because as much as the above can be easily researched and my points validated, women are often the worse when it comes to supporting a potential woman victim. The CNN clip below caught my attention and pissed me off to be frank. In the clip the group of women are discussing the credibility of Dr. Ford’s story. One woman says, when discussing the possibility of Dr. Ford’s claims being true, “What boy has not done this in high school?” WHOA. WHAT!?!?!? Ummmm ma’am PLENTY OF THEM. Additionally, when asked about if they had sympathy for Dr. Ford…. the resounding response was no. Who raised these women!?!? They have decided that a) she is likely lying and b) even if she is telling the truth, what was the big deal? Urghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Listen, I don’t know what happened at that party. BUT what I do know is this: Trauma is real. When an individual experiences trauma, it stays with them forever. Do you recall all of the details? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Let’s take it out of the realm of sexual assault for a minute. When I was somewhere between 6-9 I attended a funeral with my mom for my great uncle whom she loved dearly. I remember staying seated in the church pew as I watched a line of people go view the body (something to this day I refuse to do if I can help it). As my mom got to the casket she cried, no she hollered…. she made sounds of despair I had never heard in my life. She lost her balance and others around her had to help her. She cried soo hard, long and loudly that I remember I too cried. I was terrified. No, let me be uber clear, I was traumatized. 35 years or so later, I remember the event, because I was traumatized. To this day, I HATE attending funerals. I always get the same sickening feeling I had watching my mom as a little girl in that pew all those years ago at any funeral I attend. But here is what I can’t recall: my exact age, the color of my dress, what my mom was wearing, who was sitting next to me when she left to go view the body (was I alone? Did someone console me when I started to cry? I don’t know, I can not remember). I do not remember the season or time of year. I don’t remember if my dad was present. I do not remember a lot of the details. What I do remember is the trauma of the event, because it impacted me, forever.
This is how trauma works. No matter what the traumatic event was. So, when I listen to women on this CNN clip immediately find ways to dismiss Dr. Ford’s allegations and validate reasons why “boys will be boys” I was infuriated. People need to understand more about trauma and how it impacts your whole being. I have no idea what happened between Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford. I believe that the position Dr. Ford has now placed herself in has changed her whole life and his. She has received death threats, moved from her home, and now has the President of the United States writing tweets questioning her allegations. It must be quite overwhelming to have the POTUS single you, a private citizen, out in a tweet. Is it possible her allegations are false? Of course, it is possible. Is it also possible she is being truthful? Yes, of course that is possible and for that reason, I want women to just do better when alleged victims come forward. Let’s not dismiss them immediately. You can be supportive of women and maintain an open mind by listening to both sides. Just don’t be these women. Boys will just be boys is not a pass to do whatever……………