I am weeping. I am rattled. I am jarred. I am shaking. I am angry. I am devastated. I am broken. I am confused. I am weak.
I am shocked at the way my own brain, psyche and heart have responded to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony of being sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh before Congress this morning. Her painfully detailed accounts of a horrific night — wherein she believed the man now nominated for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States was “accidentally” going to kill her as he sexually assaulted her — has ripped open a depth of pain and scars of sexual violence that I have never spoken about to anyone, rarely even revisiting such personal horrors myself, save the one Cosmopolitan article I penned about but a handful of my personal horrors that I know many of you have read.
Dr. Ford’s quivering voice, her pain, her vulnerability, her tears are mine, are ours, all of ours. To speak traumatic truth takes an unfathomable depth of courage, strength, bravery and conviction. How can we wonder why women don’t report when Dr. Ford is recounting the constant harassment, death threats, vile and hateful namecalling, personal information plastered across the web, email hacking, even her family being forced to move from their home to secure locations with guards? Not to mention having her character, credibility, reputation, privacy, all picked apart and shredded viscously by media, the public and politicians alike.
Women should NOT have to calculate the “risk-benefit of coming forward” and fear being “personally annihilated” in reporting sexual assault, as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has in speaking out against Brett Kavanaugh. Period. A victim should not be on trial — and that is damn well what this hearing feels like. I can only hope that this dreadfully painful day in our history becomes a turning point for culture, for law, for justice.
There are stories I never want to vocalize. Memories I never want to call back. Men I never want to face. Places I cannot go back to. Experiences I will never share. And too many women and men around us feel the same, and continue to face violence and renewed trauma day in and day out, though we will never know.
To my fellow survivors, I believe you and am here for you, whether and when you choose to speak out, a choice that is yours alone to make.