The past two years of American politics have shown us that the most extreme outcome is not necessarily the least likely one. The man who once tried to trademark the phrase ‘You’re fired!’ is now the president of the United States. Anything seems possible, even that the 114th Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America could be Brett Kavanaugh, a man who is currently elbowing through allegations of sexual misconduct and attempted rape which were reported even before his first day in the job. Ha! That did happen. Trump’s somewhat predictable reaction to Dr Christine Blasey Ford’s statement (the first of three women to come forward with allegations) in court was dismissive; reducing her account to a slurry of “I don’t knows”, implying her report was purposefully vague, and that, by implication, it was untrue.
Illustration by Nia Thomas
His attack on Ford has ugly consequences. Her lawyer, Michael Bromwich, tweeted asking: “Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well?” And he has a point. Perhaps she didn’t feel she could come forward for all these years because she feared she would be ridiculed. And now, despite breakthroughs in society’s attitude towards women’s rights and sexual misconduct and the nascence of the #MeToo movement, laughter was exactly what she got from Trump and his supporters at a rally in Mississippi on 2nd October (I urge you to watch the Guardian’s video of this) where he parodies her testimony. Trump made her situation laughable, sexual assault a joke, and any victim of such a horror too scared to tell the truth. What could the future hold if the man hammering the gavel in the Supreme Court subscribes to this treatment of people in vulnerable situations? What does the future look like for American women and men fighting for causes that Kavanaugh, like Trump, deems laughable?