Unless one is a diehard political junkie, the confirmation process of potential Supreme Court judges is an event that can be missed. But the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh last year was must-see TV. The sexual assault allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford made viewers and those in the halls of power ask if Judge Kavanaugh was truly up to the task at hand.
The new book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation, by New York Times writers Kate Kelly and Robin Pogrebin, is more than the story of Judge Kavanaugh. It is a mirror that reveals the truth that America is a divided nation, politically, socially and culturally. While telling the story of Judge Kavanaugh’s life, Kelly and Pogrebin do a deep dive into who their subject is and the accusations that nearly stopped his career in its path.
Like many Americans, I watched this story like a hawk last fall. What I like about the book is that the writers leave the perspective up to the interpretation of the reader. Though they make clear that the allegations are serious (as they should), they do not play judge and jury.
As a feminist, I have two perspectives on this story. The first perspective is that Judge Kavanaugh acted in a way that only one who is young, immature and stupidly drunk will act. It appears that in middle age, he has matured well beyond the young man he was in the 1980’s. The second perspective is that this is a man who has no respect for women, especially when he is not sober. If he truly has no respect for women, how is able to make sound legal judgements that can potentially affect millions of American women?
Since the beginning of human history, a woman’s value has been solely defined by her sexuality (or lack thereof).
While this idea is thankfully starting to fade, it still has a significant hold on our culture.
When Jeffrey Epstein died of an apparent suicide in August, the scandal he created did not die with him. It has mushroomed into a much larger scandal.
According to news reports, Prince Andrew is accused of taking advantage of the young girls who were also raped and sexually assaulted by Epstein.
I wonder how Prince Andrew would react if his daughters were trafficked for sex? Would he play the innocent card, as he did during the interview with the BBC? Or would he act as a father, horrified that his children were treated as sex slaves?
The problem is that women, especially in cases such as these, are not seen as flesh and blood human beings. We are seen as things to be used as sexual pleasure for men. Until we are seen as complete human beings, women will continue to be trafficked for sex and sexually assaulted.
Morally speaking, we know that cheating on one’s spouse or significant other is wrong. We also know that having a sexual or romantic relationship with one who works for you is wrong. But that does not preclude us from doing either.
The latest news from Capitol Hill is that Representative Katie Hill (D-California) resigned because she was accused of sleeping with a congressional staffer and having a relationship with a congressional aide. If that was not enough to get the halls of power talking, nude pictures of her were released to the press.
A little more than twenty years ago, former President Bill Clinton (D-Arkansas) was at the height of his popularity. He was also dogged by accusations of sexual assault and whispers that he was cheating on his wife. Then he got involved with Monica Lewinsky, a young White House intern. Those of us who are above a certain age can easily recall the political hell that broke lose during that time.
The disgusting hypocrisy is that while the former Representative’s political career and reputation are in ruins, President Clinton is still held in high regard. This case also brings revenge porn once more into the spotlight, an issue that desperately needs local and state and national legislation to stop once and for all.
It’s time to make it clear that this conduct, regardless of who is accused of it, is wrong. Those who choose to act in this manner will be duly punished. But until that day comes when women are given their due and men get off scot-free, the hypocrisy will remain.
For decades, there were whispers within Hollywood about producer Harvey Weinstein. But as soon as reports surfaced of allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault, they were put down as mere rumor. That is until Kantor and Twohey started digging. That digging opened a Pandora’s box of truth, lies and the people who would do almost anything to close that box again.
This book reads like a fictional thriller instead of a real story. It is a heart pounding roller coaster ride until the very end of the book. We know how the story ends, but there were so many blockages for Kantor and Twohey that I started to wonder if justice would finally prevail. When I finally finished the book, I was relieved that Weinstein was finally getting what was coming to him.
The thing that strikes me about this book and this story is that it is universal among women. The women who come forward in this book tell the same story, with minor details changed for their specific narrative. They range from Hollywood A-listers to fast food workers to teenage girls assaulted by their drunk male classmates. If nothing else, I think that this book and others of this nature are a starting point for a conversation that is more than overdue.
It takes a bold person to step forward in the face of injustice. Especially when the injustice is accepted as part of the culture.
In January of 2015, Chanel Miller attended a frat party at Stanford University. What started out as an average college fraternity party turned into a life changing event for Ms. Miller. She was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner, who received a notoriously light sentence for the crime he was accused of.
In her new book, Know My Name, Ms. Miller tells her life story up to the that night and the aftermath that followed. In the book, she tells her story from the night of the party to the agonizing process of being examined at the hospital for the rape kit, identifying her rapist and finally, going through the trial.
I loved this book. If I was to compile a list of top ten books of 2019, Know My Name would be on it. The pain of whole experience is honest, brutal and at moments, hard to read. But it is well worth it, especially when Ms. Miller comes out on the other side not as a victim, but as a woman whose strength outpaces her pain.
When Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed last year, his confirmation was far from smooth.
This week, new sexual assault allegations have surfaced against Justice Kavanaugh. If that was not enough, there are some who are questioning if the FBI did a thorough investigation and are calling for his impeachment.
Where there is smoke, there is fire.
From my perspective, the fact that he was still confirmed in spite of the evidence speaks to the act that powerful men can still get away with sexual assault. Women are still there just to be sexual objects.
Where there is smoke, there is fire. I have a feeling that this will not be the last time that we will be hearing about the sexual misconduct of Justice Kavanaugh.
When we bring our daughters into the world, we hope that we will do anything and everything we can to protect them until they are of an age to take care of themselves. Unfortunately, there are some who choose to put our daughters in harms way for their own gain.
I am convinced that there is a special place in Hades for women who assist in the sexual assault of young girls. Ghislaine Maxwell is one of these women.
After the explosion of the Jeffrey Epstein case and his subsequent suicide, many have been asking how and why so many young girls were brought into his home in the first place. The answer is Ghislaine Maxwell.
If the accusations are true, this woman knew exactly what Epstein was doing to his victims. She could have protected these girls and told Epstein that what he was doing was wrong. Instead, she looked the other way and for whatever her reasons were, just continued to send more girls his way.
Only time will tell if the full weight of the law falls on her shoulders. I hope that not only is she sentenced in this life, but in the next life. What she did was wrong and deserves whatever punishment she receives.
*This post contains spoilers about this season of Grantchester. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the entire season.
Women have been experiencing sexual assault and sexual harassment since the beginning of time. It is only in the past few years that the #Metoo movement has forced the hand of lawmakers and leaders to stop and/or prevent such acts.
This season of Grantchester tackled the issue as only this show can.
After having her children and spending quite a few years at home, Cathy Keating (Kacey Ainsworth) is ready to go back to work. It’s supposed to bring in additional income and give her something to do outside of the traditional roles of marriage and motherhood.
But like many women across the centuries, Cathy has more than the standard workload on her hands. Her lecherous colleague, Anthony Hobbs (Christian McKay) has wandering hands and the idea that his female colleagues are there for his sexual pleasure. The preview of the scene starts at :11.
There are two ways to resolve a story line of this manner: the easy way and the hard way. The easy way would have been that upon finding out about Mr. Hobbs, Cathy’s husband, Geordie (Robson Green) would have jumped into the car, driven to the store where his wife works and give Mr. Hobbs a beating he will never forget.
The hard way is for the women to stand up and use their brains to stop this man. Cathy enlists Mrs. Chapman (Tessa Peake-Jones) to help her get rid of Mr. Hobbs without relying on on her husband.
I won’t give away the ending of this narrative thread, but I will say that it felt satisfying, despite the frustration of Mr. Hobbs not being exposed for the predator that he is.
Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a little creativity to ensure that these men are treated as the criminals that they are. Especially when too many women still experience sexual harassment and sexual assault on a daily basis.
Jeffrey Epstein is a coward. He knew what he did was wrong. He knew that when he went to trial, he would have to look at the women who he took advantage of as young girls. He knew that he would pay for his crimes.
Instead, he took the easy way out. In taking his own life, he took away the opportunity from his victims to obtain justice for what he did to them. Though he will not be sitting in a jail cell for the rest of his days, I hope that judgement comes on the other side.
May he rot in Hades for what he did to those women.
Sexual and physical abuse, especially against children, is a scourge on our world. The scars of this kind of abuse can stay with the formerly abused child long after they have grown into adulthood.
Eve Ensler is just one of the millions who grew up with a physically and sexually abusive parent. Her new book, The Apology, is the story of the abuse she received at the hands of her late father. Told from his perspective via a letter written to his daughter, Ms. Ensler tells the painful story of her abusive childhood.
A couple of things struck me as I was reading this book. The first thing is that Ms. Ensler must have a will of iron. Many who have gone through what she has gone through have ended up as addicts, in jail or in an early grave. The fact that she is 66 and thriving speaks to an inner strength that I frankly admire.
The second thing is that there is a mental health component to this issue that must be spoken of. The child survivors of physical and sexual assault should not only be believed, but given the support and the therapy needed to become healthy and productive adults.