I am angry.
I am angry for the pain survivors, male and female, of sexual assault have been subjected to.
I am angry that the majority has stated in no uncertain terms that no woman’s word is ever enough.
I am angry that we’re being shown politics has no place for empathy.
I am angry that those in power have weaponized the pain of a survivor to silence her voice.
I am angry that people assume “believing” a survivor but believing she is wrong is anything more praiseworthy than destructive gaslighting.
I am angry that the hurt and fear and grief and trauma of so many survivors are finally starting to be seen, and yet the majority cares more about quickly confirming a judge than hearing their voices.
I am angry that so many still think it is OK to say with one breath that I believe her and in the next say it doesn’t matter because there is no proof.
I am angry that the majority would conflate the “trauma” of not being seated on the supreme court with the trauma of sexual assault.
I am angry that the majority does not see or simply does not care that they are silencing countless future victims by their complicity in rape culture.
I am angry that so many survivors feel hopelessness, isolation, and shame for the crime committed against them, and the majority has done nothing but reinforce that narrative.
I am angry at the insinuation that this sexual assault allegation is a product of partisan strategy.
I am angry that lies about when survivors report, what survivors remember, and what perpetrators look or act like are not only unchallenged by the majority, but even spoken directly by them and the president.
I am angry that so many don’t realize or don’t care that, intended or not, fair or not, what is happening right now is a referendum on the significance of female pain set against male power.
I am angry that at the highest levels of government belligerent, aggressive, authoritarian voices are valued over compassion, vulnerability, or healing relationships.
I am angry anyone could even unintentionally imply that believing a woman’s pain enough to withhold a vote would be “legitimizing the most despicable thing” in the midst of an “unethical sham.”
My anger isn’t about the results of today’s or a future vote. It isn’t even about whether or not people believe that Dr. Ford’s words are true. I am angry because so many voices are belittling, ignoring, or outright attacking the pain of so many survivors of assault by treating the multitude of stories that are finally coming to light as irrelevant. Responding to the voice of pain is not a partisan issue. Creating the space for healing and wholeness has nothing to do with partisanship and everything to do with creating the kind of world I desire for our children.
This moment is not about one man.
This moment is about what we are saying to the 43% of women and 23% of men who have been or will become victims of some form of sexual violence over the course of their lives. This is about every person in our lives who will know by our words and actions whether we will be an ally or an enemy if they are ever victimized.
I am angry that I see so much pain and I feel like I can do so little, but I will do everything in my power to prioritize the experience and healing of survivors. I can think of no better way to fulfill my life’s call.
I believe survivors.
I believe those who have no one else to listen.
I believe those who speak up against power.
I believe those who have the courage to speak up in a world that cannot hear a painful story without raising an angry fist.
I believe, even if all I can offer in return is to listen.
There may come a day when we, as a nation, err too far on the side of the accuser over the accused. But that day is not today.
That day will not come before those in power are taught to value survivor’s lives and voices as much as their plans for those who are accused.
That day will not come before emotion, empathy, and relationship are considered as valuable as wealth, power, and control.
Someday, perhaps, we will find a way to ensure that the vast majority of sexual assault survivors do not continue to carry the weight of trauma alone.
Until that day comes, I believe you.