The Kavanaugh and Ford testimony was undeniably emotional for everyone involved and everyone listening. Whoever got to testify last got the good fortune of ending the day with the emotions running in their direction. But if we want to make the best decision we can, we have to strip away the emotions and one question says a lot about what happened today.
The Disappearance of Rachel Mitchell
One question alone underscores the extensive and implicit bias in today’s hearings. Where was Rachel Mitchell? Rachel Mitchell was the objective and expert prosecutor hired by the Republicans to ask questions on their behalf, as Senator Grassley explained.
“I’m very appreciative that Rachel Mitchell has stepped forward to serve in this important and serious role,” Mr. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, said. “Ms. Mitchell has been recognized in the legal community for her experience and objectivity.”
Grassley also called her a “widely recognized expert on the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes.”
Mitchell did her job and cross-examined Christin Blasey Ford as she should have. She looked for holes and inconsistencies as was her job. She found some in reference to Ford’s fear of flying.
But then the Kavanaugh hearing started and Mitchell disappeared. Was she even still in the room? Besides asking Kavanaugh a few questions at the very beginning of his testimony, Mitchell was never allowed to press Kavanaugh and cross-examine Kavanaugh. Think about that.
If you’re a cynic, like most of us are, we know the questions directed at Ford and Kavanaugh are going to go down party lines. Republicans hired Mitchell on the pretense that she was the objective expert and the one who could ask questions responsibly. Democrats, of course, think she was hired to avoid the image of the all-white male Republican Committee interrogating a woman over her story of a horrific sexual assault.
If you’re a Republican, they hired Mitchell because she had the experience, she was the independent one here, she knows how to question witnesses. Yet Mitchell disappeared for the entirety of Kavanaugh’s testimony and there was never even a pretense that Mitchell was there to cross-examine Kavanaugh.
The one single independent, objective, expert in the room was shut out of any cross-examination of Kavanaugh.
What does that honestly say about the motives behind Senator Grassley who lead the committee and his fellow party members? Were they there to look for holes, to find inconsistencies, and cross-examine Kavanaugh or where they in the room to argue their case for their party? Were they there to look for the truth, to test each side equally or were they there to reconfirm their pre-made decisions?
For Some This May be About Politics, For 81 Million Americans This is About Sexual Assault
We know both parties want the Supreme Court seat, but this is bigger than some political seat. This is about sexual assault, rape, and a society which is struggling to deal with the very real and very large problem of sexual assault in the country.
Society has one thing to learn, people who look like Brett Kavanaugh and Brock Turner commit sexual assault and rape. That is a fact.
People who say they love God, people who go to their daughter’s bake sales, people who volunteer at homeless shelters commit sexual assault.
There is simply nothing that makes a person a perpetrator of sexual assault or capable of sexual assault other than whether they committed the crime. They can be white, black, short, tall, funny, shy, cute, ugly, kind, obnoxious and so on.
Have we not learned anything from Bill Cosby? Have we not learned that a person can look like America’s Dad and be loved by an entire country and yet still be a rapist, or does that only apply to black people?
The entertainment industry has brainwashed us into thinking that a rapist or assaulter looks a certain way, that it looks like a rough scary person, a stranger suddenly jumping out of a bush and attacking you. That is simply a fallacy.
The person most likely to rape you is the person you know – your co-worker, your classmate, your family member, your friend, your boss, your mentor, the guy you met at a bar or restaurant and so on.
This country until #MeToo kept its eyes shut to the incredible complexity of sexual assault and the overwhelming reality of the sheer magnitude of the problem in our country. Sadly, that is part of the reason for the disbelief now. The sheer numbers of women, and some men, coming forward to many means it’s all a lie. It is not.
One in three women and one in six men experience some form of sexual violence in their lives. There are 325 million people in the United States, about 50 percent are female. That means 54 million women in this country have experienced sexual violence and approximately 27 million men have experienced sexual violence.
The sheer magnitude and incessant numbers of people coming forward are not because of some unhinged, baseless movement that is out to “search and destroy” as Kavanaugh testified in today’s hearing. It is because we have 81 million survivors of sexual violence in this country and until #MeToo we all kept quiet.
Our country is changing for the better. If we can seriously address the problem of sexual assault you will see significantly huge strides forward in the mental health and sociological well-being of our country.
Survivors Want Fairness
What survivors are asking for is not much. They are asking for decency and fairness. They are asking that when they say “I was sexually assaulted” people not rip them apart, call them liars and issue them death threats. People who are accused should not receive the same treatment either. But notice, do survivors say I Believe Christine Blasey Ford because… and start hashtags like “WhyIDidn’tReport or do they rip into Kavanaugh and attack him?
I will tell you this, when I asked my group of survivor friends what they would say if they could say anything to the public and the world right now, they were fair. They exhibited absolutely zero semblance of the unhinged vengeful movement that many are attempting to portray them as.
This is what they said:
“‘All parties who have shown that they have already decided without the facts about Kavanaugh and these women who are coming forward should recuse themselves, especially those who have stated that they will move forward no matter what the victims say or evidence provided to approve Kavanaugh. If they do not, they should be excluded from the ‘jury.'”
“All the Senators should be required to educate themselves on the neurobiology of sexual assault before moving forward. Assessment should not be made from a place of ignorance. This article that someone posted earlier would be a great place for them to start: https://nij.gov/…/pages/presenter-campbell-transcript.aspx”
Who is Telling The Truth?
I am not objective because I am a survivor, but I try and look at this through an objective lens to see how people might be viewing it who are not survivors.
I saw two people give highly emotional testimonies, albeit it one more physically restrained than the other. One we know was lying, so giving an emotional testimony does not mean you are or are not lying.
I saw a woman who was terrified but answering every single question as truthfully as possible. In fact, she conducted her entire testimony with an unwavering focus on answering truthfully. She repeatedly clarified even the smallest misspoken statements, corrected the most minute of details and admitted when she simply did not know. She was determined to be as truthful as possible.
But then I saw a man who repeatedly refused to answer questions, dodged questions, redirected questions and even turned the questions back on the one asking.
I don’t doubt the insincerity of his pain. He has been going through a horrendous process. But I question whether he is pained because he is falsely accused or he is pained because his world is crashing down around him and he may be facing the consequences of his actions for the first time in his life?
I also saw a man repeatedly laugh off comments about drinking and repeatedly profess his love for beer but at the same time deny ever drinking more than a beer on occasion.
His yearbook, his own words at the Yale Club, friends of his all reference behavior that would certainly be classified as someone who did drink too much. I wonder why not just say, “Yah, I did party and drink too much.”
We all have drunk too much in our lives. Why can he not admit it when all evidence and his very own words suggest he has?
And there are so many more questions. What about temperament? What should we think of his temperament and his allegations of a leftist conspiracy? “A leftist conspiracy” and the Clinton reference does that sound like the statement of a non-partisan judge? Why even mention the Clintons?
Then there’s the timing of Ford and the Democrats, and Republicans railing the Democrats for holding onto her testimony. Do we the people, even at this point understand how the whole thing went down? On one side I hear the Democrats held onto the testimony and released it at the last minute, and I shake my head in disgrace.
Then on the other side, I hear Ford and Feinstein say her testimony was held confidential until Ford herself was ready to make it public. That sounds like the right thing to do. And if you’re going to vote based on the politics played or not played by the Democrat party and disregard the issue of whether or not this man has committed sexual assault, you should not be voting at all.
This may be played out on a political stage, but this is not about politics. This is about sexual assault and millions of survivors around this country and this world.
One thing I know, is that of all of the survivors I have met, and there are many, I have never once met a survivor who cared what political party their rapist or perpetrator was.
I also know Ford wants an FBI investigation and Kavanaugh does not. If time is the issue, then only allow a week for the investigation as the hearing today suggested, but Kavanaugh will not ask for that. The good name that Kavanaugh so insists he is defending is not worth it to him to suspend the hearing for a week so that he can clear his name.
And at the end what about motive? Who has what to gain by lying? Who actually has an incentive to lie? Kavanaugh gets a Supreme Court seat. What does Ford get? A book tour? You think someone welcomes death threats, welcomes hiring security guards and repeatedly having to move locations in an effort to keep her and her family safe as a trade-off for a book tour?
Nobody wants to say someone is lying. Nobody wants to look at someone who is swearing to you they are telling the truth and say they are lying. There is no easy way to tell who is lying. But someone here is lying and you have to pick one. Who are you gonna pick?
And where was Rachel Mitchell our independent, objective and expert prosecutor?