Trump and Kavanaugh Face Backlash Through #WhyIDidntReport

Kavanaugh, who has been nominated to the Supreme Court, has now been accused of sexually assaulting two different women.
September 24, 2018
4 mins read

This time last year, the world of entertainment and women’s rights were both changed as the #MeToo movement began. From all over the world, women began telling their own personal stories of sexual assault. The hashtag and movement caught the attention of the whole world, as it particularly aired the dirty laundry of many men in the entertainment industry. Big names like Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein were accused of sexual assault, and famous women such as Alyssa Milano, Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan spearheaded the movement.

This was not new news in entertainment, and it surely isn’t new in politics as well — I’m sure we’ve haven’t even heard three-quarters of the unfair treatment that occurs in the political sphere. However, a light has been shined on a figure who is in a huge position. He’s our newest Supreme Court nominee. His name is Brett Kavanaugh.

In the summer of 1982, Brett Kavanaugh and three of his friends were at a party. While there, he and one of his friends cornered a 15-year-old girl in a bedroom. His friend watched while Kavanaugh held her down, groping her, covered her mouth with his hand and attempted to undress her. She escaped before Kavanaugh could take her clothes off.

Her name is Christine Ford, née Blasey. She took this story public last week, her name released and all. Obviously, there has been backlash — but as well with that, an overwhelming amount of support.

Backlash: POTUS tweets “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”

Support: The #WhyIDidntReport hashtag. Alyssa Milano, a key figure of the #MeToo movement, replied to the president’s tweet, stating that she was sexually assaulted twice, once as a teenager, and she, like Ford, never filed a police report or told her parents. Milano’s hashtag took fire, with responses from celebrities who have already been open with their experiences, such as Ashley Judd and Padma Lakshmi, and some who haven’t, like Lili Reinhart.

Many have commented on the clear parallels between Ford’s story and that of Anita Hill —both were involved with the Supreme Court, and both were denied, vilified and dehumanized for speaking up about the atrocities committed against them. Yet here we are, 20 years later, reading the same damn story coming from the Supreme Court, MGM or none of the above.

The brave women and men that speak out about these experiences are heroes, both on the national and international level. However, their experiences would gain more weight and therefore more consequence if we did simple things such as taking them seriously and believing them. Because there are a lot of people who can tell you #WhyIDidn’tReport, and every single one of them is valid.

Katie Sheets, University of Vermont

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Katie Sheets

University of Vermont

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