By Rylee Storms
Everest Staff Editor
There are many interpretations of what Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s Senate testimony means, but it undoubtedly brought awareness to sexual assault survivors and what problems regarding sexual assault are still prominent in America.
On Sept. 27, psychologist Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill. Dr. Ford testified during hearings for the now confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh regarding her claims that he sexually assaulted her in high school.
Since the testimony, Dr. Ford has gained support from many women and men, including celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, who made a post on Instagram saying, “Dr. Ford, I am in awe of your bravery.”
At Everest Public High School in Redwood City, the testimony affected many students who watch the news. Everest sophomore Nikola Self gave her opinion on Dr. Ford’s testimony, saying, “I believe that she is telling the truth, but in order to take down Brett Kavanaugh she needs more evidence.”
Another student who voiced their opinion is Everest sophomore Isabel Cline, who said, “I think it was powerful, and it displays how much women have been through and how much power men have over women. I think it represents sexual assault survivors coming forward and having their truth known.” She later added, “I think she’s telling the truth.”
Everest senior Juan Espido gave a short, but honest, statement: “I didn’t listen to the whole thing, but it sounded genuine. I believe her.”
Teachers were also affected by Dr. Ford’s allegations. Bea Daily is an Expeditions teacher at Everest who teaches Human Sexuality. She said, “I think that she’s completely telling the truth. It’s completely loyal and credible that she came forward 30 years later. She decided to share an event that has obviously shaped her into the person she is. She’s standing up for women and smashing the patriarchy. Sexual assault is alive and well.”
Emmalee Austin is the teacher of A.P. US History at Everest. Ms. Austin, while having not watched much of the testimony, said, “I think we should always believe survivors. I don’t think someone would come forward if they weren’t telling the truth.”
Aside from voiced support, Dr. Ford’s testimony inspired many women to come forward about their own experiences with sexual assault. RAINN, an organization that helps survivors of sexual assault, put out an article saying, “Between Thursday, the day of the hearing, and Sunday, RAINN saw a 338 percent increase in hotline traffic.”
The increase in calls made it possible for RAINN to help a record number of survivors. Compared to September 2017, their hotline saw an increase of about 10,000 this September.
Women are often doubted when they come forward about sexual assault. Many people assume that they are doing it for money, to sabotage someone, etc. Dr. Ford faced a vicious backlash after coming forward; death threats and harassment forced her out of her home.
The Democratic and Republican parties have very different opinions regarding both testimonies. The Republican Party supports Justice Kavanaugh and they wanted him to be confirmed. Many Republicans stated that they did not believe Dr. Ford’s testimony, and they disregarded her credibility.
The differing opinions Dr. Ford has received show that the country is still politically divided. They also show that the United States has a lot of progress to make with our reaction to sexual assault.
While Dr. Ford’s testimony is mostly backed by Democrats, there are Republicans who believe her. This is talked about in an article by The New York Times that says, “Emily McLaughlin, a sophomore at the University of Maine who was a treasurer for the College Republicans, said she believed Dr. Blasey, but wanted to hear from Judge Kavanaugh.”
Justice Kavanaugh testified the same day and received support from Republicans such as Senator Lindsey Graham who said, “This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy.”
The differing opinions Dr. Ford has received show that the country is still politically divided.
Every year in the U.S. around 321,500 people over the age of 12 are victims of sexual assault or rape. Female victims are much more common than men.
According to RAINN, “82 percent of all juvenile victims are female. 90 percent of adult rape victims are female.”
Many survivors of sexual assault do not report what happened out of embarrassment and fear. Victims also frequently suffer from PTSD and might even contemplate suicide.
As for why Dr. Ford didn’t come forward, she testified that she was scared of getting in trouble for attending a party underage. She said she was also scared due to there being alcohol at the party.
Dr. Ford’s actions of coming forward and accusing someone so powerful encouraged others to stand up for themselves. She helped women realize that sexual assault isn’t their fault.
Others, such as President Trump, do not believe Dr. Ford, and say her story is inconsistent. Many have responded to him, reminding him that it has been 36 years since the assault.
During the testimony, there were definitely a few details Dr. Ford couldn’t remember. However, what she did remember is something much more important than who took her home.
Dr. Ford, in response to a question asked by Senator Dianne Feinstein, made it clear that she is sure Justice Kavanaugh is the one who assaulted her. She explained that there is no possibility of it having been someone else.
Now confirmed, Justice Kavanaugh still denies all allegations made by Dr. Ford. Regardless of whether he is or isn’t guilty, the allegations have brought light to the standards Americans hold for who they think should be serving in the country’s highest offices.