On Thursday of this week I watched the entire hearing between Dr. Christine Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh. It was riveting, great political theater and a disgusting testimony to our political system. Ms. Ford was compelling. Watching her I had no doubt she had been sexually attacked. She also seemed very genuine about who her attacker was. As an incest victim over a period of five years from my father and from my mother when I was barely three, a rape victim, and the victim of a sexual harassment suit against my boss, the director of a department at a major healthcare center in California I had knots in my stomach and felt as if I was reliving all of the attacks on me. It brought flashes of many suicide attempts, psychiatric wards, two domestic violence marriages, one to a sadistic and sexually abusive man, time in a woman’s shelter and the five-year struggle to go through recovery.
But there is a flip side to my sexual history. When I was in my early twenties two men I had never met spread rumors that they had had an affair with me. I was married and the mother of four children at the time. My first reaction was outrage. Then anger covered me like an explosion. I was told where the men hung out, got a babysitter for the kids and went to the bar. They had been described to me. I walked up to them and my first question was: Do you two know who I am? Both said they’d never seen me before in their life. When I told them my name there was no doubt they were guilty. White-faced, they stumbled over words such as, “just a bit of fun”, meant no harm etc. That then was my experience of being on the other side.
When my husband asked what I thought of Dr. Ford’s testimony so far, I said, “She’s very credible.” But that part of me that wanted to be totally honest added that parts of her story didn’t add up and some of the major contents weren’t there. I had no doubt that she had suffered some deep trauma at some time in her life. I almost felt embarrassed for her coy, child-like responses, her constant apologies and attempts to be seen as less than. I also wondered at her questioning simple things like why when she was offered the opportunity for the committee to come to her house as she said she wanted she said she really didn’t understand the offer. I wondered why someone who claimed to be afraid to fly which is why she wanted them to come to her had been flying most of her life both for work and for pleasure. I wondered at other “I don’t understand the question” (to some fairly simple questions) from a woman with a Bachelor’s Degree, two Master’s degrees and a PhD. I took into consideration that sexual abuse traumas create confusion in answers given regarding it and remembered that I had members of my family that still did not believe my victimization, some saying I made the whole thing up. (wouldn’t I be the first one to wish that?) I felt as a victim myself my duty was to side with her.
I wanted, despite the pull in the direction of my sisterhood of other abuse victims, to withhold my decision on who was telling the truth till I heard both sides. That seemed the fair thing to do.
Then I listened to Brett Kavanaugh’s opening statement. I saw that for the most part instead of respectful and sensitive questions like the Democrats asked Doctor Ford the Dems now badgered him about an FBI background check, something that isn’t his decision to make and silly questions about his calendar from that year, some of which backfired on them. His opening statement and the answers he gave to questioning later were of a man in anguish, a man suffering deeply for being accused of something horrendous he had never done, a man who knew he was already judged guilty before being proven innocent. During most of his testimony I couldn’t stop crying. It was not because I was identifying with Dr. Ford but because I recognized the truth when I heard it and the thought of what this man was being subjected to was a crime. I have a brother. I have a son. I have a husband. Now that I see that anyone can come forward and accuse someone of wrong doing with no evidence I fear for the future of our country. We may never know the truth of why she testified as she did or what is the truth behind it. Since there was no evidence presented by Doctor Ford as to her attack and much evidence presented by Judge Kavanaugh including his calendar and written testimony given under threat of perjury by the named witnesses who say that not only were they not ever at such an event but that Judge Kavanaugh wasn’t even capable of such an attack. The attorney for Leland Kaisier, a close friend of Dr. Ford’s whom she had listed as being at the party said: “Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.” This week, despite the vote for nomination being moved out of committee the next day, we have more drama unfolding. With an FBI investigation limited in scope and for no more than one week being decided on, thanks to Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (and whether he deserves thanks remains to be seen), maybe the people who are against Judge Cavanaugh being elected to the Supreme Court will be satisfied and he will be our next Supreme Court Associate Judge. We will see.
I keep thinking of the quote from Matthew 7:1-3: Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged. It is part of the process in nomination of a man to the highest court in the land to investigate his background, in a way to judge him. As a testimony to Judge Kavanaugh’s inner self he is not judging his accuser in any way in fact said he feels bad for her. The story about Judge Kavanaugh’s daughter praying for Dr. Ford only reinforced my decision that here is a very good man.
On August 31, 2018 the American Bar Association sent the following letter to the Chairman on the Committee for the Judiciary Re: Nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.
Dear Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein:
The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has completed its evaluation of the professional qualifications of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, whom the President has nominated to the United States Supreme Court. As you know, the Standing Committee confines its evaluation to the qualities of integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament. After an exhaustive evaluation process, the Standing Committee has determined by a unanimous vote that Judge Kavanaugh is “Well Qualified” for the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh is more a victim in this political circus than Dr. Christine Ford.