The power of sharing your story – and listening to those who share theirs
With the media frenzy swirling around Kavanaugh and the joke of an investigation performed by the FBI, it is easy to get caught up in this never-ending soap opera. Instead of adding fire to the shitstorm, we want to highlight the voices of those who really matter: the women who came forward.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has been at the front lines of this whole campaign, has endured criticism and hate from the media and politicians; she was even mocked during a rally by the U.S. Cheeto president himself. All this backlash because Ford decided it was her civic duty to let the country know that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her.
During the proceedings, she maintained a composed and stoic presence, despite the pain she surely felt while recounting those traumatic and fearful moments. The courage she must have had to come forward and face the entire Senate is undeniable and monumental. Her words and strength were profound and were felt all over the world; Ford gave a voice to women, and they sure as hell used it.
A protest in D.C. saw thousands of supporters rallying in support of those victimized by Kavanaugh. Among the 300 protestors arrested was comedian Amy Schumer. Two passionate and victimized women came forward during the protest just outside the Senate to confront Kavanaugh-supporting Jeff Flake, who could only look away and hang his head in shame.
Recently, #BelieveWomen has gone viral on different social media platforms in response to Ford’s statement. The movement, a long time coming, lets survivors of sexual assault know that we support them, which in turn allows all types of survivors to feel safer about coming forward. It gives women, femmes and trans and non-binary people of all backgrounds a voice on social media.
This follows the #MeToo movement, which encouraged many to come forward with their experiences of sexual assault. Now more than ever, women are coming forward and standing up for their basic human right to not be sexually assaulted by men. They are no longer allowing privileged white men to do as they please.
For the men out there who do not know how to help: Start with believing the survivors in your life. Women do not want to see you protest down a street; they want to see you speak out against your friends. Women do not need a hand to hold. Women need you to break your silence and stop allowing these injustices.
When we started writing this piece, we often felt at a loss of words ourselves. We are, alongside many women, heartbroken over the Brett Kavanaugh situation. It is easy for women to feel silenced and forgotten after the way Ford was treated by the Senate and the media. Ford testified it was Kavanaugh’s laughter that she could not forget. Women hear that laugh every day. We hear that laugh when we’re walking down the street, when we are assaulted, or when we tell our stories. Women are telling the world how they have been hurt by powerful men, but their traumas are constantly silenced by the excuses protecting these men. Women are standing up in fear that Kavanaugh, and the men like him, will still be laughing in the end.
Ford may have been defeated in her recent testimony, but she gave women across the world a voice that is demanding to be heard. Women, use your voice! Use that voice to demand change! Use that voice to demand to be believed! Use that voice to demand goddamn basic human rights! To all the women out there, we know it is easy to feel defeated, but you must not lose hope – there are millions of women standing behind you.
Contributed by Michelle Roy and Micah Godbout