But a record number of women heading to Congress as a result of the midterm elections cannot be celebrated outside of the context that it happened mere weeks after the United States Senate chose to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after credible allegations of sexual assault were made against him. It cannot be a moment of self-congratulation for politicians to say they believe women in floor speeches while summarily ignoring the hundreds of women and survivors of sexual violence occupying Congress to protest the confirmation and the thousands of survivors flooding Hill offices with their testimony and victim accounts.
The nation bore witness to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s several hours of painful public testimony of her sexual assault as she assumed tremendous risk to her safety, re-lived her trauma on a national stage and told the Senate panel, “I believed he was going to rape me.” And then it voted to confirm to a lifetime appointment the very man she said abused her.
Taking one step back in order to take another forward is not progress. It is not a great victory for women’s leadership when we are consistently the last line of defense for moral leadership, or when calls to action and demands for accountability require moments of sacrificial public suffering in order to be viewed as moderately successful.
When women assume their rightful place at helms of power, it should not be hailed as a beacon of hope, but as a long-overdue and rightful rebalancing of the scales. “Women belong in all the places where decisions are being made,” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in 2009. [Continue reading…]