Kavanaugh, Boys will be Boys, and Sexual Assault in America


Tyra Hughes, Copy Editor

When raising young boys, we encourage their disorderly behavior and when they act out, we dismiss their actions with a shrug of a shoulder and say, “Boys will be boys.” From the time these young boys become men, this mentality carries on with them throughout college, where a couple of drinks too many can lead to the sexual assault and humiliation of 27 percent of young college women a year. This boys will be boys mentality goes beyond the playground and college dorm parties. It unfortunately has been practiced in the most prestigious of US courts, where an alleged sexual assaulter was nominated and confirmed.

In the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh hearing, the Supreme Court nominee was accused of sexually assaulting Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. America has been reminded that “boys will be boys” lives on far past the childhood years of a man.

Last month, Dr. Blasey Ford stood in a room predominantly full of male senators to tell her story of when Brett Kavanaugh sexual assualted her at a highschool party in the 1980s. According to the New York Times, “She said, a drunken young [17 year old] Mr. Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, tried to rip off her clothes and clapped his hand over her mouth to muffle her cries for help. She said it was Judge Kavanaugh and his friend laughing as they piled on top of her having fun at her expense.”

Since Dr. Blasey Ford has come forward with her allegations and spoke at the hearings, political figures have spoken in defense of Kavanaugh. On top of that, a number of senators and Kavanagh shifted the focus to the political turmoil between Democrats and Republicans during the hearings. This is extremely inappropriate when dealing with the matter of sexual assault. Kavanaugh has denied all allegations and called them ‘last minute’ character assassinations that are “political hit[s] motivated by anti Trump sentiment.”

These sexual assault allegations, however, weren’t character assassinations at all. They worked to expose something that will forever be apart of who Kavanaugh is, and the emotional disaster that it has caused to the women. Perhaps Kavanaugh would have more respect from women around the nation if he admitted to his actions;  this would have shown that he has at least grown from from his actions. But when an ideology such as “boys will be boys” is so strongly influenced even in the political world, choosing to deny and ignore the voices of women is much easier than admitting to actions that demean them as political figures.

While Democrats defended Dr. Blasey Ford, Senator Lindsey Graham (R) criticized Democrats during the hearing for repeatedly asking Kavanaugh questions regarding his behavior as a teenager and a drinker when he insisted,  “What you want to do now is destroy this guys life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020. If you vote no, you are legitimizing the most despicable thing I have ever seen in my time in politics.”

It appears that Republicans such as Senator Lindsey Graham are far more concerned with the protecting the image of Kavanaugh, rather than condemning the sexual assault and traumatizing experience that he imposed upon women. The victimization of sexual assault perpetrators is nothing new in the matter of sexual assault, but the fact that political figures are victimizing Kavanaugh is disheartening.

To think that a sexual assault survivor would gather the courage to tell her story simply to show dissent to Donald Trump presidency, or “destroy this guy’s life” is ignorant. As a woman, Dr. Blasey Ford had to live with the emotional trauma because of the assault she’s faced. To completely disregard the pain that Dr. Blasey Ford faced against her will, is nothing different than the friend of Kavanaugh who laughed as he assaulted her at that party in the 1980s.

If there is anything more unsettling than the victimization of Kavanaugh by US senators, it’s the fact that in response to the Kavanaugh allegations, Trump pushed for his confirmation. He said, “Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote.”

But even with powerful political figures defending alleged sexual assaulters such as Kavanaugh, it is amazing how his allegations and Senate confirmation has united our nation in a fight against sexual assault.  

Sexual assault is something that often times women feel ashamed about, but the #Metoo Movement is giving women the courage to speak out.  Dr. Blasey Ford was brave to testify, and although the Kavanaugh confirmation may have been a loss for women around the nation, sexual assault survivors and people among the nation will continue to stand together and resist. There is no voice more powerful than that of a woman confident to have her voice heard. The fight does not and will not end, but will persevere with the power that women have in holding men accountable for their actions.