When I was in 5th grade, at an evangelical elementary school, two boys in my class put their hands down my shirt while making sexual comments I didn’t fully understand. They were just kids; their life wasn’t negatively impacted. I transferred schools and lost my faith in the Christian god.
In middle school, I pushed a boy who tried to put his hands down my pants. I was scolded because he had a hearing aid, and probably never heard me say no, and why didn’t I say it louder? He was just a kid and his hearing aid was on, but his life wasn’t negatively impacted. I stopped trusting the school administration and adult authority.
In the summer between middle school and high school, two boys pulled a seatbelt across my throat on a church trip. My fingernails left marks on the material, a permanent sign that I was there. I felt the marks for a week, and when I lost my temper at the boys I was told to turn the other cheek and forgive them. They were just teens, their lives weren’t negatively impacted. I still check seat belts, refuse to let people sit behind me, and hate scarves that lie too close to my throat.
In high school, my first “boyfriend” groped me in front of the Wednesday night youth group that my mother still forced me to go to, despite my search for a Goddess with kintsugi skills. He was a just a teen, his life wasn’t negatively impacted. He went on to a music school and then a college scholarship.
The week before I moved into my college dorms, my ex-boyfriend raped me in my parents home. I still remember the color of the carpet with a shocking intensity and the exact number of times I said no, over and over again. He was just a teen, his life wasn’t negatively impacted. He went on to finish university, and from what I’ve heard since gotten a decent job. I went into a fugue state for two weeks, had depression and night terrors for years after. I sought treatment, but somedays that only goes so far.
My ex-husband had issues with boundaries, specifically the ones I and the women around him set. He used positions of power to pressure them. His life wasn’t negatively impacted during our marriage, nor after the divorce. I’ve gotten into debt going through the divorce, and my credit score has been trashed.
“He’s a child” “He’s a teen” “He’s a young man” “We all make mistakes”.
Their “mistakes” chased me away from Christianity to Paganism. Their “mistakes” mean I don’t sit in certain seats in cars. Their “mistakes” mean I don’t sleep well in the summer when the university I work at prepares for the new fall semester. Their “mistakes” mean I struggle with depression and anxiety some days. Their “mistakes” mean I wonder if I enabled him to hurt others, spiraling into grief and rage. Their “mistakes” mean I’m going to spend years getting out of debt and giving my credit score TLC.
Their “mistakes” impact every aspect of my life.
Kavanaughs “mistake” impacts every aspect of his victim’s lives, of which I have no doubt there are many.
Dr. Christine Ford is an incredibly brave woman. Senator Feinstein did her best to protect Dr. Ford as a victim and report the crime. Now, despite Senator Feinstein’s best efforts, Dr. Ford will go in front of a panel of GOP “statesmen” and be verbally abused.
I can’t do much, but I can take up space with her. I can write, and I can stand with her even as this reopens wounds and traumatizes survivors all over again.