Essays, Words

In the Shadow of the Kavanaugh Hearings: A Survivor’s Plea

I can no longer sit quietly by: I have too much skin in this game. This is for all six of my daughters, and my Girl Scouts, and my counselors-in-training, and my Namanu sisters, and my nieces, and my granddaughters, and every other woman in my life, and the men who love and support them.

If you are a woman and have managed to get through life so far without being sexually assaulted, Yay for you. You were lucky.

I was not lucky. I am no longer a Victim, but my 18-year old self was. She was left terrified and traumatized and broken, and completely emotionally unprepared to deal with what happened to her. It took her over a decade to find the courage to tell Anyone. Because her world told her that it was her fault. Wrong place, wrong time. Too bad, so sad. Shut up and know your roll, Cupcake.

That was 37 years ago. I am a Survivor now. I have spoken out. I have used my trauma to teach and inform. I am no longer that frightened, battered girl, but I still have her nightmares. I still bear her emotional scars. Those scars are my only “evidence.”

I had hoped that things would be better by now, in the world in which my granddaughters are growing up. But clearly, they are not. The way we treat sexual assault victims, and in particular women, in this country is abhorrent. And while this should not be a partisan issue, many are attempting to make it into one.

Today I read a post – written in the shadow of the Kavanaugh hearing – that stated all men should be very afraid right now, and the women who love them should be too. Why? Because, this post claimed, women all over the country are poised to jump out of the woodwork at any moment to make malicious, unsubstantiated claims against your father, your husband, your brother… or you.

As long as women who accuse men of sexual attacks are believed without evidence or due process, no man is safe… #HimToo [ ~ Facebook]

I call BS.


No one is asking anyone to surrender Due Process. The very thing Survivors and supporters are demanding is Due Process.

Once again for the kids in the back of the room – sexual assault is not a partisan issue. I don’t care what party you belong to. Among my family and close friends, there are people on both sides of the political fence (and some in the far and away corners of the field) and I love them all dearly. But if you have never been the victim of a sexual assault, you have no right to tell those of us who are what we should have done at the time, or imply that it was partially our fault, or indicate that our testimony doesn’t count because we didn’t speak up when it happened. I can guarantee that if your daughter or niece or wife is assaulted, you are not going to give a tinker’s dam how long ago it happened, or if the assailant is a Republican or a Democrat, or if she can produce any hard evidence.

So as one who has Survived, this is my plea: Stop using your actions and words to tell our daughters, and nieces, and grand-daughters, and every other woman out there that her experience didn’t happen and her voice won’t count unless she has the presence of mind to collect sworn affidavits and a box full of Proof the next time she is raped.

Survivor 2
Image Credit: Roberto Fantana [CC BY-NC 2.0]