Guest editorials can be submitted to The Midnight Sun editor Matt Buxton at [email protected].
By Robin Smith
According to Standing Together Against Rape, Alaska’s sexual assault rate is three times the national average. The rate of reported rape is 2.5 times the national average, and six times the national average if you are child, girl or boy. If Sen. Murkowski or Sen. Sullivan votes to confirm Judge Kavanaugh, they are sending a clear and dangerous message to survivors across the country, and especially in Alaska that their stories and pain doesn’t matter.
In a recent article in Pacific Standard, “False rape allegations are uncommon and are far outnumbered by true sexual assaults that never come to the authorities’ attention.”
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, only 2-10 percent of sexual assaults accusations are false.
As you can see, the data is clear. Survivors should be believed, not attacked. In our society we must demand that a neutral agency should investigate all sides of a reported assault.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was just 15 when she was sexually assaulted. I believe her. I believe the women who have spoken out about Judge Kavanaugh’s drunken, abusive behavior. I trust his male friends who say he drank heavily in high school and college. Did he drink so heavily that he blacked out? I believe it is possible. Did Judge Kavanaugh lie to the congressional committee about his drinking? Maybe.
Judge Kavanaugh’s response to the accusations was shocking and inappropriate. He did not offer a staid and measured response. He expressed no empathy for sexual assault victims and went on to say he didn’t watch Dr. Ford’s testimony. Where is this man’s compassion? He didn’t once denounce sexual assault and he has a long way to go in respecting women. His back-and-forth with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) was telling.
I understand Judge Kavanaugh’s frustration and his anger, but his diatribe was ill-tempered, belligerent and partisan. I reject his conspiracy theory. Judge Neil Gorsuch was under the same scrutiny as Judge Kavanaugh and no evidence of impropriety arose.
Sexual assault should not be a partisan issue. Survivors find it difficult to speak out because they are opening themselves up to hate, vitriol and harassment. In Monday’s Anchorage newspaper, a woman from Kotzebue stated she was raped “more than 40 times in 1996” by a man now accused of the rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl. She says the man “began a pattern of rape and sexual abuse of young girls decades ago.” This man was her cousin. His sister claims he raped her too. Why wasn’t this resolved years ago?
There are too many reasons that sexual assault goes unreported. People feel guilty and ashamed. They blame themselves. Perhaps the person is a relative. There may be a threat of violence. There is a power differences: age, privilege and money. Others have reported sexual assault but authorities seemed to blame the victims. Who would believe them?
At this point I do not trust Judge Kavanaugh to be impartial. Nor does he have the temperament needed to serve on the U.S Supreme Court for a lifetime appointment.
Sen. Murkowski and Sen. Sullivan, you must reject this nominee. If you don’t, how can survivors ever be expected to come forward and speak up knowing Judge Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court without hesitation?