Believe Me, but Fight For Me Too
I don’t want to talk about Kavanaugh anymore. I don’t have much to say about it that is different from what most people are saying, but I’m writing this for those who need to hear it, myself included. I’m writing this because the last few months with this case, and the last few years with several other high-profile cases, have been frustrating, and, quite frankly, triggering.
Dr. Ford’s bravery in telling her story to one of the highest institutions in the United States, and in one of the most public settings, was nothing short of inspirational. And we let her down. But let’s remember that this is not just about Kavanaugh. This is about our society’s attitudes towards those who speak up about assault and violence. And it’s about how our representatives in the government and the courts decide what matters more to them: power or empathy. I am angry, I am hurt, and I am feeling a little hopeless.
I’m angry because, to me, the Kavanaugh decision says that it doesn’t matter if you believe someone or not, because our society and our systems still prioritize the careers and ambitions of the people in power. This decision says that there are no consequences for people who use and abuse their power. And it sets a precedent that will carry through all levels of society from government officials and CEOs to top athletes and frat boys.
I’m angry because I don’t want to hear the same excuses anymore. I don’t want to hear that alcohol being a factor somehow makes a person less culpable for their actions. I don’t want to hear that it should have been reported sooner, because looking at the track record of cases in the judicial system, I’m not sure that would’ve made a difference.
I’m hurt, because while I see all the hashtags that you believe me, I don’t want to just be believed. Tell me you will believe me, but also tell me you will support me. Tell me you would stand with me. Tell me you would fight for me. Because all I’ve seen in the past few years is that I might be believed, but at the end of the day that wouldn’t matter. And that’s why I think we let Dr. Ford down: because so many people believed her. Because senators believed her and they still voted to confirm.
I’m feeling hopeless because I honestly don’t know what to do anymore. I feel like no matter who tells their story or where they tell it, these powerful people and institutions will continue on as if nothing has happened. I feel like no one is taking responsibility. I feel like there is so much change happening on a societal level, but our institutions are going backwards.
But this is not about me. I’m sharing my anger and hurt for some insight, but I know I am not the only one feeling this, and I know there are varying degrees of feelings towards this issue. I’m writing this for anyone who wants to know what they can do to support a loved one, and I’m writing this for anyone who needs to hear it.
Support and protection may not come from our governments and our courts. And for the time being, while we fight for these institutions to change, we have to be that for each other. That means listening to others without dismissing experiences, and that means holding others to a higher standard
of behaviour. It means using your political voice and voting for people who will represent you and stand for you. And it means believing stories and then letting that person know that they have people in their corner ready to fight with them no matter how they choose to deal with their experience.
Listen, believe, support, stand by, and fight for.