On July 1, 1982, seventeen year old Brett Kavanaugh attended a conventional high school party. Students sat around drinking, playing games, and talking amongst themselves. Teenagers were together having a good time, as they would at any other party. It was a symbol of typical, American, high school that everyone has probably seen at some point, whether it be on TV or in reality. However, at this party, fifteen year old Christine Ford made an appearance. Thirty-six years later, Ford made the incendiary claim that Kavanaugh forced her to a room in the house where this party was taking place. She alleged that he proceeded to try and remove her clothing while pinning her down and holding her to the bed. She could not scream, as he gripped his hand over her mouth. Ford recounts how she escaped her attacker:
‘The stairwell, the living room, the bedroom, the bed on the right side of the room – as you walk into the room, there was a bed to the right – the bathroom in close proximity,…the laughter, the uproarious laughter, and the multiple attempts to escape, and the final ability to do so” (Ford, as cited, Reston).
In September of 2018, Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to become a Justice on the Supreme Court. Once this nomination became public, Ford came forward with her claim of violent assault from Kavanaugh when she was 15. Christine Ford mentioned in her testimony that, “the assault ‘drastically altered’ her life, noting that she struggled to get her act together during her first two years at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and dealt with unwelcome memories of the incident as an adult” (Reston). After she came forward with this accusation, an investigation was started, by the FBI, into her and Kavanaugh’s past and life as teenagers. Not long after Ford, Deborah Ramirez, another victim from Boulder, Colorado, came out with a similar statement accusing Kavanaugh of assault:
Thirty-five years ago, the other students in the room chose to laugh and look the other way as sexual violence was perpetrated on me by Brett Kavanaugh. As I watch many of the Senators speak and vote on the floor of the Senate I feel like I’m right back at Yale where half the room is laughing and looking the other way. Only this time, instead of drunk college kids, it is US Senators who are deliberately ignoring his behavior. This is how victims are isolated and silenced (Ramirez).
Christine Ford and Deborah Ramirez have been brave in calling out a powerful, public figure like Brett Kavanaugh. Many people believe that it was a ploy created by the democrats to delay his confirmation into the court. The investigation that followed these allegations did delay his confirmation, but only by 10 days. Now, Brett Kavanaugh states that, “My family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional accusations. The 10-day delay has been harmful to me and my family, to the Supreme Court and to the country” (Kavanaugh). Christine Ford speaks about the effect of this on her life, “Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life. For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone these details…” (Ford). Kavanaugh’s and Ford’s statements substantially contradict each other. Kavanaugh says that these false accusations are ruining his life, whereas Christine Ford says how much his assault on her has ruined her life. Since both are so adamant that they are telling the truth, a quite thorough investigation should have taken place; not the same FBI agents looking through the same statements and coming to the same conclusion. They continued to investigate, but only closely enough so it appeared as if they were trying. It was somewhat of a sham. They should have had multiple teams looking at any shred of evidence they could find to try and determine which side was lying about this situation. This is a hard task to accomplish, but bringing in investigators with little to no bias who are only there to look at evidence and a make a decision would have been more effective in this case. When Deborah Ramirez came out with a statement making the same accusation about Judge Kavanaugh, his claim of innocence became more questionable. Due to the weakness of Kavanaugh’s response to Deborah Ramirez’s and Christine Ford’s statements, it is clear that his innocence is not certain and a more thorough investigation should have taken place before his confirmation to the Supreme Court.
There are several arguments saying that Kavanaugh would not assault a woman at all. Many statements have been made in his defense. However, they are weak and easily countered. These arguments in the defense of the judge are questionable. The arguments have little evidence, and in many cases, encourage and defend a culture where rape is considered normal and even excused by the media. Those in defense of Judge Kavanaugh say things that almost make excuses for Kavanaugh’s suspected actions. One source explains his good deeds, ‘Look at all the good stuff he’s done; he’s an altar boy and a scout.’ Many people who do good stuff also commit terrible wrongs; the question is whether the accused did what his accuser said he did” (Williams). Simply because someone has done good things does not mean they would never do bad things. Another makes the excuse of boys being boys, ‘What boy hasn’t done this in high school? You can’t judge a man’s character based on what he did at 17!’ (Time). A boy’s actions should not be excused by the fact that he is 17 and these things supposedly happen to everyone in high school. Rape does not just happen to everyone and it is not part of high school boys being boys. It is not an accident, or something that happens because someone is only 17 and doesn’t know any better. These people have defended Kavanaugh and made excuses for his actions. How can you excuse someone who caused permanent psychological damage to another human being? Do we want someone like that making important decisions for our country? These statements are weak and disputable. The fact that they are trying to excuse him makes him appear a bit more guilty. If someone kills a person at 17 years old, it is not excused with the argument that “they were only 17, these things just happen,” so why should rape be any different? “These allegations against Kavanaugh are destroying his life” (Williams). The allegations should not be stopped because they are destroying his life, they should only stop when it has been proven that he is innocent through a thorough investigation of the evidence, statements, and witnesses, which did not happen. It was a quick investigation, “The inquiry, which will last no more than a week, is a limited background check of Judge Kavanaugh, not a full-fledged criminal investigation,” that they got over with so that he could be appointed without further delay (Shear).
People on the opposite side of this believe that either Kavanaugh did not commit any kind of sexual assault crime, or that if he did, it does not still affect him and should be considered irrelevant. “It was 36 years ago, after so much time she’s still stuck on that?” (Williams). No matter how much time passes, people who have been sexually assaulted will always carry that PTSD and fear with them. Of course she is still “stuck on that” (Williams). These women who were allegedly assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh do not want it to happen to anyone else, nor do they want a man like that in such a respected position of power. “‘If it were true, she would have said something sooner.’ There are many reasons that victims of sexual assault find it difficult to speak up, not just “sooner” but at all” (Time). Our culture makes it hard for victim to speak up without feeling ashamed, especially when calling out a man in such a power position. The people that make the argument that because it was so long ago and he was 17 makes it irrelevant are not making the best decision. It will never be irrelevant to Ford and Ramirez. Being assaulted changes someone forever. The fact that Kavanaugh was “only a 17 year old high school boy” means nothing. Plenty of 17 year olds don’t go around raping women and using their age and lack of maturity as an excuse.
On october 3, 2018, a third accuser stepped forward with a statement that Brett Kavanaugh had raped her. Ms. Munro-Leighton from Oceanside, CA, made a statement on October 3, 2018 that Judge Brett Kavanaugh raped her in the backseat of a car. However, on November 3, 2018 she admitted that this was a lie. According to The Washington Times, “Sen. Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee revealed the fraud in a letter to the FBI and Justice Department Friday, asking them to prosecute Judy Munro-Leighton for lying to and obstructing Congress” (Dinan). When Munro-Leighton was interrogated and questioned by the investigators on the case, she finally came clean about the lie she told. “She admitted it was false, a ‘ploy,’ and a ‘tactic.’ She was opposed to Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation” (Dinan). Munro-Leighton is a strong democrat. She did not want Mr. Kavanaugh to be confirmed into his position of respect on the Supreme Court. When women make false accusations of rape like this, it makes it harder for true victims to be heard and down plays their struggle. Since Ms. Munro-Leighton was lying and admitted to it, she makes Ramirez and Ford look as if they are lying as well. It also makes it appear that this whole situation was a plan created by the democrats to delay or even stop his confirmation into the court. These women could have been paid off to say these things about Kavanaugh, or they could have done it on their own because of their personal dislike of the judge.
Brett Kavanaugh claims that his reputation was damaged by these allegations, but that does not compare to the alleged personal trauma and pain caused to Christine Ford and Deborah Ramirez and their families. Just because someone is a good person does not mean that they never do bad things. All of the good things that Kavanaugh has done does not mean that he is incapable of sexual assault, or any other misconduct. If he did in fact commit this crime, it should not be excused by the fact that it was so long ago and he was only 17. Those things should not matter. It does not make the crime any less real to these two women affected, so it should still be a big deal to us. However, because Ms. Munro-Leighton admitted to her lie and “ploy” to delay this confirmation, it does make it appear as if the other two women could be doing the same. Brett Kavanaugh may be innocent. Although, a further and more thorough investigation would have made that more clear and made a solid decision in this case, leaving no room for “what ifs.”
- Ball, Molly. “The Cost to the Court.” Time. 8 October 2018. https://web-a-ebscohostcom.library.westernwyoming.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=10&sid=7dd0f57d-4de8-4955-b36b-f68dc9066ace%40sdc-v-sessmgr05&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=132004251&db=aph. 5 November 2018.
- Dinan, Stephen. “Another Kavanaugh Accuser Admits to Fabricating Rape Story.” The Washington Times. 3 November 2018. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/nov/3/another-kavanaugh-accuser-admits-fabricating-rape-/ 12 November 2018.
- Mogensen, Jackie. “Kavanaugh Accuser Deborah Ramirez: ‘This Is How Victims Are Isolated and Silenced.’” Mother Jones. 6 October 2018. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/10/brett-kavanaugh-accuser-debbie-ramirez-statement-drunk-college-kids/ 13 November 2018.
- Reston, Maeve. “‘I will never forget:’ Christine Blasey Ford Recounts Her Trauma in Raw Testimony.” CNN. 27. September 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/27/politics/christine-blasey-ford-raw-testimony/index.html 13 November 2018.
- Shear, Michael. “Details of F.B.I.’s Kavanaugh Inquiry Show Its Restricted Range.” The New York Times. 29 September 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/29/us/politics/kavanaugh-fbi-inquiry.html. 13 November 2018.