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Will a Brett Kavanuagh Confirmation Kill the #MeToo Movement?
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27 Sep 2018 11:03 AM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer: Image: Brett Kavanaugh (Image source: Screenshot)

 

We saw something amazing a year ago with the birth of the #MeToo movement. The amount of sexual misconduct Harvey Weinstein was accused of was astounding, and this was no average Joe. This was one of Hollywood's top producers.

 

To pay back these women, other women started gathering all their courage and admitting that they, too, had been the victims at some point of sexual misconduct. It not only picked up a hashtag in #MeToo, it became a full-blown movement. 

And through this huge movement, more and more women, and sometimes men, were coming forward to call out the Hollywood elite for their sexual misconduct: Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, at some point it seemed like there would be no end to it.

 

But really this idea that the Hollywood elite is capable of such things started earlier. Nearly 60 women came out to accuse Bill Cosby of drugging and/or raping them through several decades. "America's Dad" was accused of so many heinous crimes, yet with so many, it had to be true.  

He was first accused in 2015, or rather reaccused, as Andrea Constand had already brought a civil suit against the comedian and settled out of court. But of all those nearly 60 cases, hers was the only one able to go to a criminal trial.

 

The jury couldn't decide the first time Cosby was tried. And then the #MeToo movement came about. After the second trial Cosby was found guilty fairly quickly. He was just sentenced this week. For the 81-year-old, his 3 to 10 year sentence is most likely a death sentence. 

As Cosby was being sentenced, another man was being accused multiple times: Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. He made it through the Q&A part of his confirmation hearing relatively unscathed, despite the bad feelings of the Democrats and the missing documents. He seemed like a lock.

 

Early on in his nomination process Christine Blasey Ford had sent Sen. Dianne Feinstein a letter about the Kavanaugh she knew as a teenager who, she claimed, sexually assaulted her and even held his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming. 

Ford begged the senator to not tell anyone, and Feinstein didn't until late in the game, sending the letter to the FBI. Through this gesture, word spread quickly and many were wanting to find out the secret identity of the author of the letter.

 

Ford tried to control the information that was coming out by coming forward. It didn't necessarily help. She was followed by a second accuser, Deborah Ramirez. Just like with Cosby and Feinstein, this began to snowball. A third accuser, Julie Swetnick, has now come forward as well. Other classmates have also come forward to talk not of sexual misconduct, per se, but describing the young man they knew who was engaging in heavy drinking and womanizing. 

But the most heinous part of all these accusations is that these men were or are in a position of authority and used that authority to manipulate these women, to take advantage of them, and to take whatever they wanted from them without permission.

 

The part that is the most disgusting in all of this is that while there are some women on the Senate Judiciary Committee and even more in the Senate as a whole, there isn't enough. The people who will be deciding Kavanaugh's fate are more men. 

If the GOP men follow through on their promises to confirm Kavanaugh, then Ford, Ramirez, and Swetnick will be victimized all over again. They will have put themselves out there publicly, opening themselves up to bullying and a loss of privacy for nothing.

 

And Kavanaugh, while not in a position of authority when he committed these crimes in question, is currently in power as a judge and stands to be given much more power if he goes on to be confirmed for a seat in the Supreme Court.  

His word, along with the others on the bench, will be the ultimate voice in some of the top cases to reach the court system. How will he decide if it comes to a case involving a man's power over a woman? The GOP doesn't have a great track record with those decisions, so that seems set in stone already.

 

But the worst part is that it could kill all the progress that was made on behalf of the #MeToo movement. Women felt emboldened throughout this movement to come forward, to stand up against their accusers and take their power back. 

Not only will it take the power away from Ford, Ramirez, and Swetnick, but it will take that power away from all victims. Women will not feel they have a voice to speak up for the crimes that are committed to and against them.

 

That's why these senators need to do the right thing. They need to take all that into account. They need to know, somehow, that it's not just about gaining power for the Republicans to have another voice on the Supreme Court. 

It's about all women losing their voices. It's about all victims losing their voices.

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