Editorial: We believe Ford



Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)

The Editorial Board

In light of the current political climate and testimonies from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, we at The News feel it is imperative to address the topic of sexual assault and harassment. This issue remains deeply embedded in our culture.

In the United States alone, one in three women and one in six men experience some form of sexual violence, and nearly two-thirds of college students experience sexual harassment, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Moreover, we acknowledge the vast number of nonbinary individuals excluded from these statistics, and those in other marginalized communities, whose stories go untold.

We live in a society that distrusts victims and blames women in particular for the gendered harassment and violence they experience.

Women are discouraged from coming forward, and often suffer when they do. They are forced to watch as their perpetrators go unreprimanded, and are elected to positions of power in academia, industry and politics.

Women are routinely faulted by their friends, families and political leaders for not reporting abuse when it happens. Yet few stand by to support and believe them when they do.

Ford’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sept. 27 was gut-wrenching. The entire nation watched as she delved into her most distressing memory, while senators on the committee discussed her appearance.

In her recounting, Ford states that she was assaulted by Kavanaugh when she was 15 years old. We at The News find the allegations brought against Kavanaugh to be both pressing and worthy of a thorough investigation.

To be completely clear, we believe Ford.

Rape culture, or the normalization of sexual abuse, will endure unless we begin to acknowledge its impact and hold people accountable for their actions.

We stand in solidarity with all who have lived through the events Ford has bravely described.

But our responsibility does not end in offering belief alone. We have to do more than posting our opinions online and then hashtagging our empathy. The problems that surfaced during Anita Hill’s testimony in 1991 persist today. Our culture is still one that desperately fails to support its most vulnerable members when they need it.

It is also worth noting that as a white woman, Ford is granted more agency than people of color and others of marginalized communities. Though it cannot be stated concisely enough to fit into this editorial, there is a profound conversation about intersectionality that needs to be considered.

We have an opportunity to take the responsibility of confronting abusers off the shoulders of victims. It is our collective duty to change the culture by announcing our commitment to actively dissociate from known abusers and make an effort to discover and acknowledge who those abusers are.

It is time for us to break down the conventions that perpetuate rape culture. We believe Ford, and everyone who follows her.