The #MeToo movement has overcome a lot of challenges – the biggest of which was getting started to begin with. As more and more women have come forward to tell their stories, and as men like Bill Cosby have been held accountable for their pasts, it feels like change is finally in the air.
Enter Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. The coming vote on his confirmation is perhaps the greatest challenge that the #MeToo movement has faced since getting off the ground. It’s not just about whether or not Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations are true. It’s about how we as a country will react to women who come forward in the future.
Over the last week, I’ve watched with a growing sense of horror as the clear divide between women who have been sexually assaulted and those who believe them and abusers and apologists and those who believe them has split the country apart. Both groups are equally passionate. Both groups are equally loud.
But in this case, to the victors go the spoils.
As more women come forward to tell the story of their sexual assault years, and sometimes decades after the fact, there is a growing false narrative. This myth states that the women coming forward are mistaken, or even malicious in their accusations. That these aren’t cases of assault at all, but cases of regret after the fact.
It’s the myth of false accusation, and it is just that – a myth. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the occurrence of false reporting has been grossly inflated. In a publication, the inflated rates of false reports happen, in part, “because of inconsistent definitions and protocols, or a weak understanding of sexual assault.”
Judge Kavanaugh is up for a position on the highest court in the land. Should he be confirmed, whether he is ultimately guilty of sexual assault or not, those who don’t believe victims – those who believe the false narrative that false accusations are common will undoubtedly gain the upper hand. This myth will gain precedence and loom over women who may have just begun to gain the courage to come forward with their own stories.
And although Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers, Dr. Blasey, Deborah Rameriez, and Julie Swetnick have been supported and embraced by members of the #MeToo movement, they have been equally spurned by the other side. They have faced accusations, recriminations, and even death threats.
Whether other women can feel comfortable continuing to come forward with their stories in the face of the treatment these three women have received
“Judge me by the standard that you would want applied to your father. Your husband. Your brother. Or your son,” Judge Kavanaugh cried.
We are trying to. I, as a daughter, wife, sister, and mother would like to believe that the important men in my life would not flinch against a high standard of morality. I would like to believe that each of them has a clear understanding of the word “consent,” – particularly my son.
As a woman who has her own #whyIdidn’treport and #metoo stories, I would hope the men in my life would be appalled to think they’d ever be the cause of another woman’s story.