Kavanaugh vs. Believing Women: A Supreme Court Precedent

First Published 18th October in The Palatinate (Print Edition)

6th October 2018: Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the US Supreme Court. The appointment was marred by weeks of testimonials, committee hearings and press coverage focused on the allegation made by Dr Christine Blasey Ford, that she had been sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh whilst they were in high school.

What does this case tell us about society’s attitude towards women, and how we engage with allegations of sexual assault?

Accusers such as Dr. Ford are treated as suspects in their own cases.

In many societies there is a tendency to disbelieve women, to conclude that it is the victims of sexual violence, who must be the ones lying, never those accused. Our society, and its leaders, motivated by power, wealth and influence don’t understand why a woman would be willing to come out in public, recounting their past trauma and risking their professional and personal reputation, simply for justice and for closure. Surely, they think, there must be something else they have to gain?

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