On the eve of what promises to be a hearing fraught with land mines for both sides ie. Kavanaugh vs. Christine Ford, we need to think about what accountability is.
For a young man, i.e. a 17 year old boy, to attempt to rape a 14 year old girl is criminal; rubbing his goods into someone’s face despicable; the man who is so devoted to maintaining a mask of integrity and denial of a well-documented assault should step down. Trump, a clear-cut perpetrating and sexist fool so filthy in his own predilections that the “golden shower” story is utterly credibile yet whom evangelicals and GOP gun-toting and tattoed sows have endorsed along with band of dirty-minded misfits i.e. the Senate Judiciary, should shut the fuck up—but we know they won’t.
We know that the #MeToo movement will be vociferous in their support of Ford in its own brand of mob mentality in which women are quick to brand themselves and their sisters victims. Before you kick me in the crotch, and demonize me and write me off, you should recognize the following: I am a feminist of the preceding generation who promoted the notion that women should claim their power and unless they are shot, raped, beaten up, stalked and worse, should never even be referred to as victims and not refer to themselves as victims. Why? Because we are not mewing, abandoned kittens. We are strong, accomplished, powerful human beings who are survivors of many things. We are not fragile little girls..
If we are all going to hold Kavanaugh to account, if as we proclaim, our objective is not to find a political mechanism by means of which to blow Kavanaugh out of the water, all dirty laundry should be aired so that truth may win the day and put matters right. There are questions that should be asked of the illustrious female professor who is not a 14 year old girl any more.
If I were on the committee, having to stiffen my spine against nothing but resounding and outraged indictments from those on the I’m a Victim Train, I would ask her the following questions, If it is true that you were assaulted by one, perhaps two boys in a bedroom, at a party where most if not all kids were drinking, how did you get into the bedroom? A bedroom we have seen flash by in the glut of lurid discussions of all of these matters, at the top of a flight of stairs, in a house where sometime in the 80’s a party went down where there were lots of boys, lots of booze, and an indeterminate number of girls.
No one has mentioned the bedroom or what Christine Ford, Ph.D., was doing there. I believe that the following scenario is not far-fetched, whether the official line is that she was pushed into it or not.
I am 14 years old, who perhaps has gone along with older girls who can drive, to a party where boys are. At 14, I have been developing for perhaps three years, having started my period at eleven. I know about sex. I have fantasies of being made love to; I have explored my own body and perhaps even know how to give myself an orgasm.
At 14 I think I’m very sophisticated and worldly, not fully if at all cognizant that in the eyes of older boys who are young men, I am USDA choice beef.
If I am actually pretty, I don’t believe it. I am in the throes of adolescence, wherein I don’t like my hair, my figure; I am shy. Perhaps I have a mother who doesn’t mention sex, having one day set pamphlets on my desk—a repressed mother. Or perhaps I am the child of someone who is not up to the demands of motherhood, or of being a wife. In any event, my mother is not at my shoulder to tell me, when I cannot get my hair to do what I see the other girls’ hair doing, to teach me to value myself, to support me as I begin to strengthen a fledgling identity.
As a 14 year old I crave validation and I am immensely vulnerable. I have a crush on a boy who doesn’t give me the time of day. A boy who is charismatic and assured, and whose attention is the subject of my dreams.
So it is that I go along for the ride, to a party where I know there will be drinking, because I am not stupid. I am in the house, where loud rock and roll plays. Suddenly a handsome older boy puts his arm around me, and invites me upstairs, says that more of the party, the best part of the party, is in one of the rooms.
What goes through my mind? I am neither child nor woman; I am in between. It is crystal clear to me that I am about to take a risk.
I even, at 14, know what the risks are; I know that I am safe when I stay in full view of the others at the party and I know that I could be at risk if I go with the two boys who are smiling at me, quaffing their beer from Coors cups.
If I am a victim of anything at this point, it is of my own low self-esteem and early rebellion against being a “good girl,”; I am estranged in fact from my mother whom I have seen in her own cups, disheveled and snarling, and she has taken her own pain out on me.
At the mercy of my own hormones and anxiety and the allure of such handsome boys cajoling me, I go. I fall like a sapling to the ax, and I go.
Without many preliminaries, I am being kissed, while one boy watches the door. Then, abruptly, everything changes, and I am being forced to lie down. I am being undressed and the young man is lying on top of me, and I can feel his erect penis. A wave of terror rolls through me. I am ensnared.
This time, I get lucky. The boys panic and suddenly, they are gone, and I am alone on the bed. I am trembling like a leaf.
I am also drenched in shame. I know that if I tell anyone what happened, the story will be all over school. If I tell my parents, my angry, dysfunctional mother, I will be further shamed, blamed, grounded. I will not be supported, loved, soothed; I determine that I can’t afford to say a word.
It is not until adulthood that I begin to examine the pattern in my life in which I catered to men because it seemed to be my job. And then, the time comes in which I cannot take the weight of my secrets, my shame, how I let myself be used.
Certainly we can see that Ford has been focused on what was done to her, but has she considered reaching into herself and speaking with that little girl? That virtual child who thought she should go upstairs with boys? Has she said to her, I’m sorry I let this happen to us—none of this is your fault?
I don’t know anything about the nature of Ford’s story, and I don’t care about Kavanaugh’s. I can only say that I identify with that young girl and how she let herself be lured away, a sacrificial lamb.
I know about soft rape, not being able to say no to rough, ill-kempt men. See preceding posts.
Christine Ford is sick with blame and denial, and has yet in my view, to own her own pain and let her tell its truth to her.
In order to get free of the pain of the past, we must not only open those wounds inflicted by us on others to the air including the wounds we have inflicted on ourselves. We must own our part in our own perpetration–an assertion that will trigger the wrath of #MeToo’s most avid ball-busters. I have watched certain women stay stuck in the role of the victim. They obsess over being victimized, rather than doing all the dirty laundry including their own.
Truth is gray. Even young girls in puberty can quantify danger. How many times have I walked away from safety into the arms of trouble?
More than I can count.
What heals me? Truth. Self-admission and taking responsibility. We know, all of us, as women-becoming of any age, that when we assent to a boy or a man–to go into a bedroom with him or get into his car, we are saying yes. The question becomes, Why did I let boy or man X use me? Where was my self-love then, and where is it now.
These questions lead to deep and painful self-revelations, but like removal of an arrow in the soul that has radiated a dark fire throughout our beings, perhaps for a lifetime, the bright red blood from such an excision is that of healing.
Coming clean and owning one’s “stuff” is what both heals and purifies, and helps us move on from pain. Confronting the perpetrator is the easy part; confronting the Self: not so easy, but indelibly brave. When we own our part, those we blame lose their power. #MeToo is helping women stay stuck, focused entirely on how terrible men are. We can indeed do two things at once–confront the perpetrator, but recognize that when we get into a guy’s car or his office or a bedroom at a party, we are communicating something to most young men. That, my friends, is the way of the world.