The Ones Who Got Away: Kavanaugh and the Weight Women Carry
The latest allegations against the Supreme Court justice serve as a stark reminder that for powerful men, accountability is rarely an issue
Women’s lives are littered with the ones who got away: The stranger who flashed you on the subway when you were 12 years old. The homeroom teacher who asked you out the day you graduated high school. The boyfriend who “had sex” with you while you were passed out drunk. The men who get to go on with their lives as if nothing happened, while you’re left grappling with the weight of their bad behavior — a weight that gets progressively heavier over the years as you meet more and more of these men.
I thought about this weight that women shoulder over the weekend, when reporters at the New York Times confirmed what feminists have been saying for a year: Brett Kavanaugh is a likely sexual abuser whose confirmation to the Supreme Court was rushed through without a thorough — or even adequate — investigation.
The article, an excerpt from Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly’s upcoming book The Education of Brett Kavanaugh, alleges that not only was Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation of sexual assault credible, but so was was Deborah Ramirez’s lesser-known claim that Kavanaugh thrust his naked penis in her face at a party while they were students at Yale. Kelly and Pogrebin also uncovered a new, similar accusation. Max Stier, a college classmate of Kavanaugh’s, said he saw a young Kavanaugh with his pants down and watched as friends “pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.” The female student “has refused to discuss the incident,” according to the authors, “though several of her friends said she does not recall it.” (Which is not necessarily unusual for a college party.)
How could someone rise to the highest court in the nation with three credible claims of sexual misconduct against him? The same way abusive men have been skirting justice for generations — with institutional protection and cultural empathy.
Kavanaugh’s story followed a predictable formula of power and privilege, where a man is once again given the benefit of the doubt against all evidence. Kelly…