Crazy Faith Ministries
The president of this nation went on the attack against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both teens.
In one of his infamous tweets, the president said that if the attack on her was as bad as she described, he was sure that a police report would have been filed immediately. In essence, he is suggesting that she is making the whole thing up.
His attack shows that he is absolutely ignorant about how the world works. Neither women nor men who are sexually assaulted come forward immediately. Consider the adults who were sexually assaulted by priests when they were children; they are only now coming forward, and for some of them it was as long as 40 years ago that they were assaulted.
It is embarrassing to be assaulted sexually, and frightening, in that the one who has assaulted someone is often one who has a fair amount of power. That person can be a father or uncle, a priest or a pastor, a police officer or a doctor.
The one who is assaulted is at the behest of the one in power and is hesitant to say anything because he/she is embarrassed and wonders if they somehow brought it on themselves. And they are confronted with the reality that they may not be believed.
Many women experience being molested by their father or worse, the lover of their mother. Too many of those women have reported that their mothers didn’t believe them. That disbelief is a source of inordinate spiritual and emotional pain.
In the case of Kavanaugh, there are several reasons why the young Christine Blasey would have remained silent. She may have been afraid to tell her parents she had been at the party in question. How many of us have defied our parents and snuck off somewhere or done something without their knowledge? Most of us have that testimony.
Then there is the young Brett Kavanaugh. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that he was at that same party, doing the “boys will be boys” thing, drinking way too much and trying to have his way with a girl. That scenario is not uncommon. The onslaught of testosterone combined with too many beers has been known to be a factor in the bad behavior of young men for a long time.
What is maddening is that society in general has allowed men to sexually assault women. Being sexually aggressive helps men define their “manhood,” and they allow little to nothing to get in the way of that definition.
Women who are raped have been threatened – by their accoster and by society – to not challenge what was done to them. Women historically have gotten little to no support by the legal system.
Those who believe in male sexual supremacy, like those who believe in and practice white supremacy, have the attitude that they are entitled to do what they want to their prey. Both sexual and racial supremacists dehumanize those whom they attack.
Women in general have been dehumanized and Black women even more so. Black women were known in these United States as “brood-sow” or “sucklers,” or as a “work-ox.”
While all Black people were seen as property by the white supremacists, Black women were dehumanized both racially and sexually. While White men lynched Black men for what White men believed to be their desire to rape White women, White men were in fact raping Black women.
The debacle going on in Washington and in this nation around the Kavanaugh nomination shows that we have not come very far.
The sexists are raising irritated voices over Ford’s claims, and the president is showing his ignorance and arrogance about how sexual assault works. Women do not tell what they have been through because they do not want to be blamed for what happened to them, and it’s worth repeating that males sexually assaulted by other men stay silent for the same reason.
It is probably that Kavanaugh will be confirmed to sit on the nation’s highest court, just as Clarence Thomas was in spite of being accused of sexual misbehavior by Anita Hill.
Men still believe that they have the right to flaunt themselves around; they do so knowing they will most likely not be held accountable.
A final thought: the religious Right has been deeply disappointing. The Rev. Franklin Graham said in a recent statement that attempted rape is not a crime. It was a daunting statement, even for a privileged White man. The evangelical White pastors coming to the defense of this president are showing both their racism and sexism. In the name of God, they are supporting behavior that is damaging to God’s children.
It is not surprising that some women are standing up for Kavanaugh. Their complicity in sexist behavior is as disturbing as it is when Black people support known racists. It is clear that too many of the oppressed accept having been dehumanized. They support the oppressor; they are like the Israelites, who, having been led out of slavery, wanted to go back to being enslaved. It was familiar, and it was easier to exist as slaves than to begin new lives as freed souls.
The more things change, the more they remain the same. The Kavanaugh debacle says more than meets the eye, and that is truly troubling.
Rev. Dr. Susan K Smith is available to preach and hold workshops or seminars. She can reached through firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.crazyfaithministries.org.