By Paige Munshell
Christine Blasey Ford is the latest woman to come forward as a victim of a sexual crime by a public figure.
She certainly won’t be the last.
As the world watches, Ford will testify at a judicial meeting Monday about an alleged attack she survived by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when they were in high school. The #MeToo era has seen similar cases where alleged victims have come forward to put their name to a story and hold public figures accountable.
In response, the public has not always been successful at showing these victims sympathy and holding their alleged attackers accountable for their actions. Kavanaugh’s nominator, President Donald Trump, has fervently denied accusations of sexual misconduct from 19 women, whose allegations range from unwanted kissing to rape. Despite public allegations of sexual misconduct, Trump won an election and has maintained his office.
There is a heavy history of the public being too kind to men and too harsh to the women who stand up to them. Trump has had a rocky history of nominating and appointing officials with a potentially criminal past. The Senate, with the advice from the Senate Judiciary Committee, will decide whether or not to continue that precedent with the acceptance or rejection of Kavanaugh’s nomination.
The issue at hand is not whether or not Kavanaugh is guilty, but whether he should be considered for appointment to the Supreme Court with the knowledge of these allegations.
There should not be a chance that a sexual predator could be given a lifetime office to decide the fate of legislative policy as America moves forward. This issue should breach party lines and unite the members of the Senate in agreement, regardless of political affiliation.
As many have cried before, allegations of sexual crimes could hurt one’s character. Kavanaugh has firmly denied the allegations made by Ford as untrue. But making an accusation of a sexual crime committed by a public figure could have much more damaging effects on the accuser.
Ford has faced criticism from the right that these accusations have come forward at a politically important time for Kavanaugh. But this is not the first time Ford has spoken of the alleged assault — it’s simply the first time there has been mass public awareness of it. “The Washington Post” confirmed that Ford had spoken of the assault with her husband and a therapist in 2012, and that her statements were consistent with a victim of sexual assault.
Choosing to come forward as a victim is not an easy decision, nor is it a frivolous attempt to gain attention. Kavanaugh retains an assumption of innocence, but the allegations have support to rid him of his nomination for Supreme Court.
As the current system stands, public figures continue to take public office despite allegations of abuse. Recent times have seen some consequences — Al Franken’s resignation, Roy Moore’s loss of an election — but others stay in office, such as the President of the United States. You can read each of the 19 accusations against Donald Trump here.
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Paige Munshell is a sophomore journalism and psychology major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.