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
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.
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.