Saturday, October 6, 2018

Commentary: How Kavanaugh's Confirmation Shows What We've Refused to Learn from Catholic Abuse Chronicle, Etc.

Those insisting on the presumption of innocence for Kavanaugh are stuck in the era when the presumption was that a powerful man simply should not be at fault unless there is overwhelming hard evidence and the woman's claims in a "he said, she said" scenario are not to be taken too seriously. She can testify emotionally, but if she can’t prove it "beyond a reasonable doubt," well, then, he is for sure Supreme Court material. 
The project of this era is to identify perpetrators and prevent future sexual assault. That can only happen when we encourage victims to come forward, we listen, and we refuse to presume the alleged perpetrators’ denials should be taken at face value. The solution is to create a justice system that takes into account the barriers to victim disclosure and that opens the statutes of limitations so that those victims can come forward when they are ready. For too long, we have mistakenly shut them out of the justice system while their perpetrators operate at will.

Dolores Huerta and Andrea Nill Sanchez The Brett Kavanaugh Vote Was A Test Of Machismo, Not Politics 

Machismo is more than just sexism, chauvinism or even misogyny; it’s the belief that men are superior to women. It also refers to the culture that enforces that belief, one which protects male domination and social standing through subjugation, stereotypes and a gentlemen’s agreement to have one another’s backs. 
Machismo also fuels violence against women and sustains the culture of impunity we’re witnessing today.

A couple of weeks ago, the prominent congregation of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament parish stood united in its shared anger at what its priest, the Rev. Bill Foley, called "silence and inaction" on the topic of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. 
Not long after, another kind of sex abuse scandal hit much closer to home — and the response among those in the Northwest Washington parish appears to be one of quiet yet profound division….
Those whose children attend the Blessed Sacrament school and belong to nearby elite country clubs are more apt to support Kavanaugh, who travels in the same circles, than are those whose children attend local public schools and lead somewhat more modest lives, they say. Perhaps the biggest dividing line is between those who see no connection at all between clergy abuse accusers and Kavanaugh’s accusers, and those who view the topics as inextricably bound together. 

As Collins went point-by-point casting doubt on Ford's claims, her male colleagues could not suppress their pleasure. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) nodded along approvingly. Sitting next to him, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) offered up a cheshire cat grin. When Collins finally announced that she would be casting a yes vote, the two men exchanged the subtlest of fist bumps.

The campaign against Kavanaugh's accusers reinforces what women already know -- that sexual violence is about power, and that when backed into a corner, power brokers will regroup and lash out at its challengers. 
Millions of people watch Fox News every day. Many of them are undoubtedly survivors of sexual violence themselves. While Fox News personalities get rich smearing victims in an effort to install Kavanaugh into power no matter his past behavior or the fact that he repeatedly lied to Congress, they're saying to their viewers, "We don't care about you, we don’t believe you, and you should shut up and keep your experiences to yourself." Right-wing media outlets are sustained by their commitment to punching down, even if that means launching an attack on half of the world's population to save the career of one man. Only through the power of testimony and solidarity can survivors overcome the system that seeks to silence us.

"Noah said he realized the president’s 'most powerful tool is that he knows how to wield victimhood, he knows how to offer victimhood to the people who have the least claim to it. "Trump is saying that 'the real victims of the #MeToo movement are men." … 
Compared to the number of women who have actually been sexually assaulted, he said the number of men who have been falsely accused is miniscule.

Michelle Goldberg, "A Supreme Violation": 

Something in the spectacle of a highly credentialed Republican man nearly being denied his life's goal on nothing but the word of a couple of women has brought out the inner Trump in a lot of people.

Adam Serwer, "The Cruelty Is the Point":

Trump's only true skill is the con; his only fundamental belief is that the United States is the birthright of straight, white, Christian men, and his only real, authentic pleasure is in cruelty. It is that cruelty, and the delight it brings them, that binds his most ardent supporters to him, in shared scorn for those they hate and fear: immigrants, black voters, feminists, and treasonous white men who empathize with any of those who would steal their birthright. The president’s ability to execute that cruelty through word and deed makes them euphoric. It makes them feel good, it makes them feel proud, it makes them feel happy, it makes them feel united. And as long as he makes them feel that way, they will let him get away with anything, no matter what it costs them.

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