“Boys will be boys” is no excuse


TW:sexual assault, rape, Brett Kavanaugh

The world is a dumpster fire right now. I haven’t blogged in a while because my own life has not been great at the moment and I am dealing with some personal issues on top of a house move. But I wanted to come here in my own personal safe space on the Internet and vent some of my frustrations at a particular piece of news.
I don’t live in the US, but you don’t have to be an American to be appalled at what is going on with the new SCOTUS appointment. The fact that a despicable man like Brett Kavanaugh, who not only sexually assaulted a number of women, but provably lied in his hearing is taunted as the greatest judge by a particular – Christian – party should shake any decent person to their core.

I am not here to talk politics. I don’t even have a well-formed, well-thought-out article for you. There are many writers who have said it better than I could at this particular moment in time, but I need to make my voice heard. I need to talk about the impact this whole shit storm has on me, and likely on many other survivors of sexual assault.

When I read news like the Brett Kavanaugh hearing and the reaction of many old, white men to the very credible story of Dr Ford, I sometimes despair of whether we can ever make the world a better, safer place for women. I always (naively) think that we have come so far as women, only to be reminded that there is still a large percentage of the population that views us as property, as not deserving of respect and common decency. The fact that a lot of senators have said that even if that rapist did what he was accused of (and I fully believe Dr Ford), he still should be appointed, because “it was a long time ago” or “boys will be boys” or whatever other nonsense excuses they can come up with. These men – and some women – simply don’t think that sexual assault is a big deal. They don’t understand the outrage of women around the country and the world, because they don’t view sexual assault as a bad thing. At worst, it’s a minor indiscretion.

Sexual assault is a trauma that will stay with you forever, as testified by Dr Ford and many other survivors of sexual assault. It took me over 20 years to open up about my own experience but that doesn’t mean that is hasn’t stayed with me for all those years. And yet, none of this is important to those who treat sexual assault as a nuisance, and specifically as a nuisance for the accused rather than the victim. We give abusers the greatest amount of leeway, respect and understanding (one only need to look at how fast Louis CK was accepted back without having issued an apology), but we treat victim with scepticism and sometimes outright hostility.

I sometimes despair that this will ever change. Misogyny is so deeply entrenched in our culture, our society and our politics that it will take decades of non-stop activism to change that. And I am tired. I am tired of being gaslighted. I am tired of not being believed. I am tired of having to fight tooth and nail to be treated like a human being. And the rage is all consuming. People have mentioned it before, but during the hearing the person who had the most right to be raging (Dr Ford) was calm, collected, well-spoken and professional. Whereas the accused, who should have been calm and humble, flew into an incoherent ragey temper tantrum. And yet, it was he who received praise from the Republican senators, while they dismissed Dr Ford as confused.

This blog post doesn’t really have a coherent point. I am just tired and ranty and desperate for a change. Change is coming though. Maybe not as quickly as we’d like, but we will make a difference. Even if it’s just the small things. Meanwhile I am going to hug my sons and teach them in no uncertain terms never to assault or harass a woman.

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