Thanks to Professor Christine Ford for outing herself as a victim of sexual violence. What she’s doing is beyond difficult but imperative. Likely right now, a lot of women are recalling their own Brett Kavanaughs. I can think of at least three. No, make that four. And as I recall them, I wonder: how is it that hatred for the male gender by females is not more widespread? My answer reflects what many think. Well, there is my X or my Y or my Z and he is a decent guy. It’s a weird rationalization, similar to the 65 women who claim they were not assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh in high school.
My first Kavanaugh assault happened when I was a freshman in high school. Maybe the same age as Christine Ford. It was my first dance at a local woman’s club. I was with a good friend and both of us were as innocent as a Catholic girl can be. We met two brothers from Savannah, paired off, danced a lot, drank beer, and eventually my guy took me by the hand and led me outside, where we walked, stopped to make out, walked more and ended up in the back seat of his car. From that point on, I was under his control. My body was wedged the length of a small back seat with my head on the armrest. He was on top and ground and kissed me furiously. I was lucky. He did not rape me but he left an open, round wound below my lower lip from his savage kissing. That wound is visible in my school photograph. The scar was visible for years. Did I tell anyone? No. Did I call the police? No. I hid it all.
My next Kavanaugh assault took place during this same time frame and in one of the safest places imaginable: in my family home, on the living room floor. I recall the name of my assaulter, John Oliver. He had ginger hair and was chubby, not an athlete or a scholar but part of my brother’s circle of buddies. Mom and Dad were gone and we were there, along with my brother and a few more of his friends. I recall being on my back, on the carpet and he was holding down both my arms. I went into a rage. Something just clicked. Survival instinct perhaps. I fought him. I yelled for my brother to intervene. He sat just feet away, drinking his beer. He did nothing. I screamed and fought and my assaulter laughed. After some minutes, he gave up. Released me. Did I mention that he was my boyfriend? Yes.
[I can now recall three more assaults. Each much more serious. I do not want to talk about those.]
My third Kavanaugh was a classmate at the University of Florida. It was a Friday or a Saturday at the Ratskeller, an on campus bar known for its rowdiness. The Rat was closing and my classmate offered me a ride to my dorm. I accepted. He did not drive me to my dorm. He drove me to his off campus apartment. Inside, he immediately pulled me into his bedroom and almost immediately tried to take off my clothes. I fought. He tried to remove his jeans, one leg got caught. That’s when I kicked him. I knocked him down. Yes, another drunken boy who thinks sexual assault is part of the party. I ran out of his apartment, down several blocks to the apartment of an acquaintance from my home town. He let me sleep on his sofa. The next class, my Kavanaugh ignored me. To him, I didn’t exist. Did I report this kidnapping and attempted rape? No.
By the time of the fourth Kavanaugh, I’d left UF and had my own an apartment in another city. I was no longer innocent. I still dated boys but my feelings about males as sexual partners or romantic partners or conversational partners or study partners or any other partner was on the wane. It was another Saturday night and my date and I argued en route to a club. We stopped at a park with a lighted fountain on the banks of the river. We continued arguing. He kicked me out of his car and drove off. My apartment was a mile away, through a length of cozy neighborhoods. As I walked, I heard a sound behind me. I turned and saw a young man, belt buckle hanging over his partly unzipped shorts. He was masturbating. When I turned, he pulled his white tee shirt over his face. I was angry enough to laugh at his desperate absurdity. I kept walking. He followed me this way until I reached the parking lot of my apartment. I got in my car, revved it up, put it in reverse and glanced in the rear view mirror. There he stood, tee shirt over face, masturbating with his other hand. I thought of how easy it would be to simply mow him down with my car. I didn’t.
Writing this stirs up different emotions. Anger is at the top of the list. Disgust is next. Why is it that these male creatures with their appendage have their uncontrollable need to stick it or wag it or grind it and why do they innately believe (without thought) that a woman’s body is their guaranteed receptacle and target? There is no consciousness of respect or violation. Women are just there. For them. For the taking. Without permission.
There’s also bitterness mixed in with the anger and disgust. Because after all, we’ve been here before. I don’t have the patience to talk about behavior mod therapies or the value of education or the third wave or fourth wave of feminism or the #MeToo hashtag. Because it’s the same ole shit. It’s the eternal return. With every generation, it’s the same ole shit.