Kavanaugh’s Hand over My Mouth – I Can’t Breath

hand over mouth - I can't breath

I have known the author of this article, Heather Heller, for many years. Heather told me about being raped in the early sixties by a classmate in her senior year in college when abortion was illegal and dangerous, and the “pill” had not yet been invented. I saw a person, in Heather who had gone through hell to have the child and then had to give it away since she had no means to raise it. Like Dr. Ford, Heather tried to move on from this traumatic, life changing experience and went on to get a graduate degree.

She then moved on and became one of the first women to become an Account Executive and copy writer for a leading national advertising agency.

Heather told me that after seeing Dr. Ford’s testimony, and the dismissive treatment her story suffered at the hands of the Republicans on the Committee as they made Kavanaugh out to be the victim, she felt compelled to respond. Some official figures estimate that a third of women in the USA have suffered from sexual harassment or actual rape. My estimate would be that figure is probably closer to 60% or more.   

Since rape or harassment usually only happens in the intimate interaction of the two people there are no witnesses, Since the woman always has more to lose than the man in her self-esteem it has now become more acceptable to put more weight on the women’s story than on the man’s. Our President, who has over fifteen women who have accused him of assault, advised his rich friends if this happens to them to just , “Deny, deny, deny”. A friend of mine who is a top executive in a technology company said this about the hearing, “It is a stunning and incredible spectacle. Kavanaugh is a privileged jerk”  – b. traven

Heather Heller

Yesterday’s display by certain men on the Judiciary Committee was despicable.  As Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was emotionally reliving her assault, the hand over her mouth to muffle her screams was indelible. As she was carefully explaining which parts of the brain record trauma and which want to block it out, I was reliving my own assault and the tears flowed.

They flowed not for me but for the millions of other women who have similar stories, some also very repressed, and the men who not only don’t want to believe them, but will circle the wagons to protect their own.  Senators Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley, the attack dogs, were showing their teeth yesterday in the supposed halls of justice.

When Kavanagh came out swinging and bullying everyone in his path, it sent shivers. He was mimicking the president who bullies the press at their press conference and bullies world leaders at the UN.

Bullying is the new norm in our country, not compassion. Such tyrannical behavior. And now we might have a new Justice on our highest court, to protect the rights of women.

I did not see a judicial temperament yesterday. Why do I have the feeling that hand will be covering our mouths as well soon?

PS: TCP has heard from a number of women around the world who had watched these hearings and were shaken by the dismissal of Dr. Ford’s testimony and the Republicans acceptance of Kavanaugh’s aggressively painting himself the victim rather than Dr. Ford. We selected the following note to show the depth of feeling by women about this . It also shows how widespread sexual harassment reaches into women’s lives.

Anne wrote:

I watched most of the Kavanaugh hearing yesterday.  It disturbed me so much that I woke up around 5 and could not fall back asleep. I’ve been watching the second day of the hearing live since 6:30. I’ve been haunted by what happened to you, as well as some of my friends. Every moment of unwanted sexual harassment and interaction that I have endured has been playing through my mind.

Kavanaugh is a liar, and regardless of what happened in high school and at Yale, he clearly does not have the temperament to be a judge. The way he bullied Senator Klobuchar about blackouts is inexcusable. He also mansplained to Senator Hirono that Yale is the number one law school in the country (and therefore he knows best), to which she replied that she was insulted because she studied at Georgetown. He is clearly incapable of being nonpartisan, and his overall tone is threatening. There were too many character flaws on display to list, and too many plays from Trump’s handbook.

Humiliating and sexually assaulting women is definitely a part of elite boys school culture. Kavanaugh reminds me of my college boyfriend’s friends. Like Kavanaugh, he attended an elite boys college prep school. At a summer party that neither of us attended, my friend was gang-raped “train style” by several of his former prep school classmates. I am sure it was not the first time they orchestrated such an attack, nor the last. My friend did not report it because, like most women, she blamed herself for getting into that situation. It always bothered me that he socialized with those privileged misogynists; eventually I ended our relationship mostly because of it.

5 thoughts on “Kavanaugh’s Hand over My Mouth – I Can’t Breath

  1. Thank you for this post. We need to keep one thing in sharp focus: this nominee, and any nominee while Trump/Pence remain in office, has to have committed (privately, to those vetting him) to voting to overturn Roe v. Wade. Thus, this whole process is absolutely, unquestionably about women. Should a woman have a legal right to voluntarily terminate her pregnancy? The “Evangelicals” (I’ll use this term for convenience, though I think there must be some devout Christians who don’t fit into this category of loud public bible-thumpers), of course, scream “NO!!” from the rooftops. And since their warped sense of “values” (pro-gun-proliferation, pro-capital punishment, pro-war–I will argue this is NOT an exaggerated stereotype in the current environment here) makes them an absolutely essential voting bloc for the GOP, the latter will continue to cater to them in exchange for their allegiance at the polling place. This is what the Republican Party has devolved to. I have a very strong suspicion that, personally, Trump has no problem with abortion. But he has to play the game, and he or his intermediaries instructed “the Honorable” Mr. Kavanaugh to come out swinging with both fists in the Judiciary Committee hearing. And that’s just what he did, handing photographers numerous opportunities to capture his face scrunched up in anger. Not an appealing sight! I think Kavanaugh should be tagged with the nickname “Angry Little Judge.”

    It appears Kavanaugh’s drinking to excess carried over from prep school all the way to Yale Law School. This makes it rather hard to slough off the teenage behavior as “a standard rite of manhood passage,” “Everybody’s doing it!” If “truth serum” or some other means could be employed to get honest responses from the nominee, I think he would have to admit that he suffered frequent memory blackouts. [I suffered a couple of those in my own youth and, frankly, it disturbs me to this day. I’m quite confident I committed no criminal acts during those incidents, but I don’t like to lose control of my conscious ability to make moral choices.] This nominee positively reeks of Upper Middle Class White Male Privilege. He is clearly part of the problem of predatory male sexual behavior, of which Mr. Trump himself boasted some years ago. And he certainly made no apology on the campaign trail for that audio recording that surfaced–“You can do whatever you want because you’re a star.” And in his own head, there has never been a star that shone as brightly as Donald J. Trump, God have mercy on his delusional mind!! Since the rise of the #MeToo movement, White Male Privilege has felt on the defensive, and that is part of the explanation for “Angry Little Judge’s” pugnacious performance on September 28. The outcome of the full Senate up or down vote remains a cipher. Should Kavanaugh come up short, celebration would be premature, I’m afraid. His replacement nominee will be at least as hostile to women’s rights, but we may be confident the vetting process will be more carefully executed. Trump may even come up with a woman nominee, but you can bet she would be just as hostile to women’s rights. Because that is the way of the modern Republican Party. They cannot rest until they have handed the “Evangelicals” the ripe prize of outlawing abortion.

    • Undoubtedly, BK was performing. I also feel his crying an hysteria was an attempt to feminize him so he would claim public sympathy and diminish that for Ford. It was a game that he was assigned to play. However, as he has no compassion or consideration for a public that he disdains, his play was artificial and insincere except to those who want to push him forward for all the wrong reasons.

      And yes, Trump couldn’t care less about abortion as do so many who fight it. Abortion is nothing more than a political football about women having power over their own lives. This is unacceptable in a sexist society. And men have always had a problem with women having the power of procreation, something they just cannot do themselves (altho they keep trying!).

  2. https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/i-knew-brett-kavanaugh-during-his-years-republican-operative-don-ncna907391

    This piece by David Brock is not getting MSM coverage but it is critical reading as it gives context to the Ford experience. It was not just about sex. It was about training privileged white boys in the exercise of raw power.

    “We were part of a close circle of cynical hard-right operatives being groomed for much bigger things. ”

    This is what is critically missing. Ford’s experience was/still is very painful. It was shared by so many other women. It is the condition of a sexist society that wages power games on women for control and narcissistic indulgence. It is critical to put a face to the game and Ford sacrificed her privacy and safety to do this for the country. A genuinely big picture woman. So many kudos to her.

    However, the situation is not just about sex. It is about colonizing 51% of the country’s population. It is about repressing them, controlling them and demanding they do the bidding of the male ruling elite for the sense of empowerment as well as convenience. It also tries to eliminate a powerful force of competition for decision-making in all arenas of our society.

    Kavenaugh is a liar, a trained liar for the 1% of which he was groomed to be a supporter of that group. His performance was a study in someone doing this bidding to his best. If he had any real angst it was solely about failing in his mission to reach SCOTUS in order to fulfill the neo-con assignment for which he was in training since his school age. This is why Ford is so important. She was trying to tear off the mask. This is why David Brock’s article is even more important. And we need to quake in our shoes at this man achieving this goal.

    • Thank you Tamarque for the link and the additional insight into the political training of our leaders. There is additional support for your argument by a young man who was a freshman with Kavanaugh at Yale on how his elite, private school thugs hung out together and vomited on the floor of the bathroom after their drinking binges and left it for someone else to clean up. The arrogance and immoral behavior of these graduates of a Jesuit private school has added to reports I have received of others.
      This insight should also alert us to the danger of for profit Charter private schools that are often called “academies” and partially funded by taxpayer money with virtually no oversight.

    • Thanks for the link to NBC piece, which I would not have discovered on my own. The details are not really surprising, since this is a POLITICAL nominee, not the “brilliant legal mind” Trump spouts off about. But in a stomach-churning way, the details are fascinating!

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