Protesters walk during the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21, 2017. (Mario Tama / Getty Images)
Sierra Canyon High School

Opinion: Why are women still blamed for their own assaults?

On October 6, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed into the Supreme Court of the United States. This hearing marked one of the most controversial hearings in American history. He was accused of sexual assault from three women, including Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. He “categorically and unequivocally” denied these allegations.

The responses to these accusations were very divided, and even included the president. Trump told BBC reporters that, “It’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of.” This is the type of language that is culturally demeaning to women and perpetuates the concept that women are to blame for their own sexual assault.

The president’s comment that it is “a very scary time for young men” automatically denounces women’s truth and free speech on things that have happened to them. Being accused of something as serious as sexual assault or rape should not be taken lightly.

Making a serious claim is not calling someone “guilty,” but instead looking into their true character and previous actions. Men should not be “afraid” now, instead they should just be accounted for their actions and not able to get away with something as serious as this topic. Women should not be victimized for speaking out about their assault, and quotes like the President’s only further the culture of blaming women.

Kavanaugh’s speech also added to this stigma, as he wanted people to feel bad for him and feel his suffering throughout this time. He turns his accusers pain of speaking their truth and puts it below his own; this is the epitome of male privilege. The fact that two of the women who also accused Kavanaugh were not even allowed to speak before Congress proves this narrative.

Trump continued to attack Ford’s claims as he mocked her at one of his rallies in Mississippi. In response to criticism of this action he stated, “I thought I had to even the playing field. It was a very unfair situation.” Women speaking out about their assault should not need to be leveled out and especially not done by mocking them. Treating a woman like that is despicable and the fact that our president finds it justifiable is disgusting.

Senator Lindsey Graham also spoke out about this case saying, “I cannot imagine what [Kavanaugh] and [Kavanaugh’s] family have gone through. I hope the American people can see through this sham.” This once again continues the notion that women should feel bad about speaking their truth and should instead remain silent. They should not be condemned for their actions of talking about their own experiences.

This all goes beyond politics; this is about how to treat women with decency and equality. This should not be a one-sided issue, women should be heard no matter their political identities and no matter who they are speaking about. The examples of the president and Graham prove that this type of behavior still exists today and continues unless something is done about it. Women’s stories are still not being told entirely and are cut off by men who want to silence them. This is not what America should stand for.

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