so, here's the thing...

September 27, 2018

Well. Today was miserable. 

The gradual build-up of the last few weeks to today's senate hearings has been static in the background of my news feed, but this morning, it forced its way to the immediate center of my focus. I couldn't shield my eyes from Christine Blasey Ford's exceptionally compelling testimony, nor could I stomach the entitled, whiny rebuttal offered by Kavanaugh. I've wanted with all of my being to believe that we've come so far, that in the midst of the #metoo movement, we've plowed past the days of Anita Hill, we're on the up-and-up, that we as women are unveiling an unstoppable, collective voice--that we are a force to be reckoned with, and we've finally earned the right to be believed, to be supported, to be equals.

But as I sift through my Twitter feed, and read confirmation after confirmation of politicians still planning to confirm Kavanaugh's seat, I am numb with devastation. How is this the country we live in? What have we been fighting for?

I was raped during the first week of my sophomore year of college. He was an acquaintance, and there had been drinking involved. In the immediate aftermath, I fell into the darkest of depressions, resulting in bruised relationships, a failed year of classes, and ultimately, the robbing of a piece of my soul and identity, never to fully be regained.  

I've considered time and again whether writing about my trauma would be cathartic--especially in light of the endless scandal at my alma mater and the ongoing echoing of women who have experienced what I have and much worse--but was never convinced that sharing would offer any sort of healing or benefit for me. Tonight, I've been ushered over that threshold, and feel compelled to admit the absolute worst experience I've ever endured, because after years of expensive therapy, countless anti-depressants, the deepest of conversations and more gut-busting tears than I could ever count, a full decade later, I know it's not my fault. One of my best friends served as a sort of inspiration for me to share my story. She wrote about the way she's processed the #metoo movement for Cherry Bombe, and it's an exceptional piece.

I echo her exact sentiments with this line, and therefore won't attempt to craft it any more poetically: "it has been exhausting and, while cathartic for many, I am tired of women having to lay bare their deepest pain for people to finally take harassment and assault seriously."

I still doubt my own voice, which is utterly and completely wrong, but I blame the environment we exist in. While I don't believe someone should be required to have their body, dignity and safety violated to have an opinion on this matter, I absolutely believe that having experienced this gives me perspective that I likely wouldn't otherwise have.

Watching Ford shakily give her story stirred within me a suppressed anger that has been building steadily for most of my adult life. Make no mistake: the woman is a hero. I read a tweet a week or so ago that stated how she knew her life would be decimated beyond measure, that the lives of her beloved family would be completely upended, and yet she faced the senate committee to face demons that have no doubt haunted her for her entire adult life as well. While my strong, sick suspicion is that tomorrow's vote will result in Kavanaugh being voted in, I have to find the slightest inkling of hope in that Ford stood her ground, she refused to be silenced--and by the looks of Twitter and other news sources--the woman is believed! Our country is just so backward that the privileged, white boy is getting what he wants anyway.

Here's what else I absolutely know:

This happens entirely more often than you want to believe. In varying degrees, to women (and men) of all ages, backgrounds, races. In high school parties, church camps, at concerts, with friends, boyfriends, husbands. I can't tell you how many times the topic has bubbled up in conversation with girlfriends over wine--there's a reason the hashtag reads "me too."

The crystal clear clarity of some memories never escapes your mind. While thirty-plus years have passed since their incident, and ten-plus have passed since mine, I still remember the new jeans I was wearing. I still remember the texts he sent as I rushed out of the house. I still remember sobbing in the shower when I got home, sick in disbelief. I still remember the sunlight cutting through my blinds at early dawn, me wishing the night away. The fact that it happened on my brother's birthday. Breaking down about it to a total stranger the night of a Halloween party at my apartment. Some memories bury themselves deep within the folds of your mind. 

I believe you, Dr. Ford. I have to believe the tides are turning, that with every voice that shakily emerges from the depth of our collective, forced silence, we're trudging on. That we're changing the narrative, and that there is immense strength in our sharing. I have to believe this.

Keep fighting, ladies. I am with you. So many are fighting alongside you. And America, I'm just beyond disappointed. And I have no doubt this will factor into voters' decisions here in about six weeks.

Tomorrow, we wake up and try again.

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