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Are we ready to take claims against Kavanaugh more seriously this time?

Last year, almost to the day, Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified,” Ford said in her opening statement. “I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”

Ford went on to describe how Kavanaugh and one of his friends had trapped her in a room at a house party and sexually assaulted her, and how the incident affected her for the rest of her life.

Kavanaugh, whose Wikipedia page now includes a three-part “Sexual Assault Allegations” section, was confirmed to the Supreme Court anyway.

On Sept. 14, the New York Times published “Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not.” The essay, by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly (who published the book “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation”) focuses on Yale University alumna Deborah Ramirez.

We should believe Ramirez. We should believe Ford and remember how brave she was to testify against Kavanaugh. We should take both claims seriously.

At a party her freshman year, Ramirez said Kavanaugh (also a first-year at the time) “pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it.”

The essay notes that “she and some classmates had been drinking heavily,” which doesn’t make the scenario any less horrifying. Guys get drunk all the time and don’t shove their dicks in girls’ faces. It’s not something normal that happens.

Compounding on the problematic nature of it all, the Times tweeted the essay along with the caption: “Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun. But when Brett Kavanaugh did it to her …”

The caption, like the essay, goes on to mention the heart of the piece: Ramirez feeling out of place at Yale. The Times deleted the post, after it was met with public backlash, and its writer apologized.

But in no context is someone forcing their genitals on you “harmless fun.” Nothing Brett Kavanaugh did to Ramirez, or Ford, or other women, should be taken lightly at all. 

What upsets me most about Kavanaugh is knowing he has two daughters. 

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A 2018 study showed that men whose firstborn children are girls “are more likely to support policies that promote gender equity than men whose first child is a boy.” 

Kavanaugh is obviously an exception.

The argument I’ve heard most in Kavanaugh’s defense is the same thing people used to defend Brock Turner — something along the lines of, “Why should he be punished for the rest of his life for a mistake he made as a young man?”

No one, in my opinion, should be punished their whole lives for a stupid mistake they made as an adolescent.

But sexually assaulting someone is not a stupid mistake, and it’s not one that most people make. 

@kirbdavis

daviskn3@miamioh.edu

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