Saturday, September 15, 2018

Why Women Don't Come Forward: Brett Kavanaugh Edition

Dahlia Lithwick has a must- read article today about the broken system that "Republican Forrest Gump" Judge Brett Kavanaugh springs from and that may well advance him to the Supreme Court in spite of a sexual assault allegation:
The real tragedy is that we do not need this woman’s story to understand who the current Supreme Court nominee is. Because here is what we do know about Judge Kavanaugh: We know that he clerked for and had a yearslong close relationship with a serial abuser of women and claims he knew nothing about it. He claims he doesn’t recall being on a hypersexualized and misogynistic email list and claims he didn’t bother to search to determine whether he was. He claims that when the serial abuser of women for whom he clerked was revealed to be a serial abuser of women, he believed the victims and yet called the abuser, because he was worried about the abuser’s mental health. Worrying more about the accused judge than the accusers one claims to believe is the system protecting the system. This is why women don’t come forward. 
Here is what we do know about Judge Kavanaugh. We know that he was part of a group of young men who saw fit to write a creepy racist and misogynistic email chain—and to pledge to keep it secret. We also know that the “neutral” George W. Bush lawyer who vetted Kavanaugh’s papers (and also represents the disgraced judge for whom Kavanaugh once clerked) deemed one of those emails classified, even though it contained no national security or political secrets. Withholding that email was the system protecting the system. That is why women don’t come forward. 
Here is what we do know about Judge Kavanaugh. He had an opportunity to use all these questions around all these periods in his life to say anything at all about men and power and the female victims of that power, and about the systems that protect and reify and rehabilitate men in power, and he said nothing. Worse, he said he believed the victims of that system while still doing nothing to support or credit them. This is why women don’t come forward.
Litwick's article is a blistering indictment of an entrenched patriarchal system whose demise is long overdue. (Lithwick reminds us of what happened to Anita Hill in the confirmation process for Justice Thomas and of the many #MeToo victims who've often been further crippled by the experience of coming forward.)  We're happy to provide at least a partial response on the political side:  elect many more women into positions of power at all levels of government, starting with the 15 Democratic women running for the U.S. Senate and 187 Democratic women running for the House this year, and the 12 Democratic women running for Governor.

BONUS:  Paul Waldman on (white male) Senate Republicans' long- held knowledge of the accusation against Kavanaugh and how they chose to respond:

BONUS II:  On the same note --

The stench is sickening.

No comments: