Dear Cory Gardner
I reach out to your office often and I feel like all I get back is form letters, so now I am taking to my blog to talk to you. I have seen in the news that it’s probable you are going to vote “yes” for Brett Kavanaugh, but are listening to the stories of sexual assault survivors.
Let me tell you mine.
I have been sexually assaulted three distinct times in my life, one overshadowing pretty much everything. My father abused me when I was young, and just like Dr. Ford, I blocked a lot of it until it came out in the form of night terrors in my 30s. This is a common thing for childhood trauma – to manifest itself in your 30s. I was screaming and beating my husband in my sleep several times a week, so I turned to therapy and medication. I felt like I was at the bottom of a dark hole trying to crawl my way out. It took several years, but I am much better.
My father died when I was younger, and I have often said how glad I was. Can you imagine that? I am glad my father is dead. Reason being is I never had to face him at holidays or talk to him again, ever. My two other assaults were random, so I am lucky never to have to confront them again either. I have spoken to other survivors, and some feel power in facing their attacker – damn, they are brave – but I can tell you that would never work for me. The idea that Dr. Ford would make up a story that would force a confrontation such as what she endured is beyond anything I can ever imagine.
Yes, I believe survivors as my default and I was especially inclined to do so in this case before a word was even spoken.
But then they did speak. Dr. Ford was nervous, scared and honest.
However, it’s now well beyond what she said and how she acted.
It’s what he said. And how he acted.
Brett Kavanaugh was every single survivor’s worst nightmare. Belligerent. Defensive. Angry. Entitled. Mean.
I understand that he felt cornered, but how can any public official not these days? Cory, I am not sure if you are aware, but there is a cardboard cutout of you that shows up at rallies all around the state because people think you are unfeeling. I imagine that hurts, but such is public life. I myself let off steam on Twitter about a variety of topics quite often and get beat up for it too. But I also remember something my therapist said to me as I was getting better and our talks turned to more benign things, you know, like good old parenting.
“You are not responsible for your child’s behavior. You are responsible for your reaction to it.”
In my opinion, someone who is up for the job of the highest court of this land should have handled himself much better than Brett Kavanaugh did last week. How can we trust this person to make clear and solid judgments about the most pressing issues of our times when he can’t respectfully answer the simplest of questions? When he evades and demeans the people asking them, as if they are not worthy?
I do not know if Brett Kavanaugh was guilty of assault 30 years ago, but frankly, his testimony felt like assault last week.
Some people may say I am conflating issues here. That I am heaping my past experiences on this man, who has not been found guilty of a crime. Well, yes. I am.
I come from my experiences just as Brett Kavanaugh does. And when the people we elected to run the country do not listen to us, do not believe us, do not hear us… there is nowhere to go but that deep, dark black hole that we used to hide in.
Except I refuse to do that ever again.