Olivia Pan ’20
Chief Opinions Editor
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been swept up in a firestorm of controversy due to recent accusations of attempted rape, made by research psychologist, Christine Blasey Ford. Ford claims that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a party while they were both high school students in Maryland in the 1980s. Ford had previously discussed the incident with a couples’ therapist in 2012, and formally disclosed details of the assault to both Representative Anna Eshoo and Senator Dianne Feinstein (Vox.com). Ford agreed to testify regarding the incident at a hearing on Thursday, September 27 (USA Today). As of today, while writing this article, it came to my attention that a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, has come forward with allegations dating back to Kavanaugh’s Yale University days. Ramirez claims that Kavanaugh “exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent” (New Yorker).
I am going to start off by stating that all parties need to be vetted and heard. The FBI does much vetting of Supreme Court nominees and should certainly not stop now. Christine Ford’s account of what occurred sounds credible. Not only did she recount the incident to her therapist, but a former classmate of Ford’s claims the assault was talked about and discussed as rumor in school during the days that followed the incident (nbcnews.com). Every teen and adult is familiar with rumors, almost akin to swirling smoke when a fire has burned and been put out; the whispered voices in hallways, dorm rooms, and on bleachers that speak to something having happened. Like a bad children’s game of telephone, the truth lies somewhere in the midst of the swirling smoke. That being said, I am anxious to hear her testify. She was quite naïve to think she wouldn’t need to.
There are some who may believe that the actions of a drunk teenage boy are not actions which should speak to his present character as a grown man with a wife, children, and established career. However, this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated from anyone, regardless of age. A teenage boy still knows right from wrong, and a teenage boy who is sexually criminal in his behavior has no right to a lifetime appointment to the most powerful arm of the government. And if the new allegations against him from Ramirez prove credible, that adds a whole new layer to this scandal and would establish a disturbing pattern of behavior.
The Ford incident also speaks to the “boys will be boys” mentality. Newsflash: not all boys attempt to commit rape in high school. Even during your formative years as a young adult, a moral compass is and should be evident and strong among males. There’s not one among us who can look back on our high school years without any shame or guilt about things we may have done, but when an act of violent assault is committed, there should absolutely be consequences, no matter the age. We must ask ourselves: Is this the man, if proven to be guilty of these charges, we would want holding a position in the Supreme Court? The answer is NO. There has to be a higher level of accountability for those who serve or wish to serve in high-ranking positions of authority. You are asking to be scrutinized and judged when you seek to hold a position on the Supreme Court. It is simply too powerful a position and holds too much sway to ever have such large chinks in one’s armor.
We need to hold this country and its leaders to higher standards. Obviously, our own president, who had his attorney pay off a porn star and who was accused by multiple women of assault and harassment, is not held to these standards. This makes it difficult to assign accountability for other high-profile men. Nevertheless, it must be done. We cannot turn a deaf ear to these allegations. I do not profess to know what Brett Kavanaugh did or did not do at some prep school party or at Yale. I do know that if he wants the highest ranking lifetime appointment to a branch of the government that many consider the most powerful influencer of our constitution, and our rights, then buckle up. As Bette Davis once memorably said on film, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” In Brett’s case, it’s going to be a bumpy few weeks and then some.
Times Up for some men. The natives have gotten restless and angry and are joining arms. For those men and boys who would cut off a limb before harming a female, please join the fight and loudly and aggressively do so. It matters. We need men, strong boys and men, in this fight. By the way, you will win all the best women if you do so.
Photo Courtesy BBC.com