Like many women in the nation, I watched events unfold regarding the Supreme Court, namely Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination and subsequent appointment. I watched as a man accused of sexual assault got appointed to the highest court in the land. I watched, as a kindred spirit, as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony was cast aside. I watched a man turn vile and hateful towards every woman talking to him in that courtroom. I watched and recognized that any notion of the idealized “good ol’ days” where rapist couldn’t even be employed had died.
My parents, now in their late fifties, have talked about the good old days, when “men were men, ladies were ladies, and America was at its peak,” blah blah blah. They want to go back to that, and yet they endorse the administration that puts a man publicly accused of assault on the Supreme Court? When my parents were growing up, had a man been accused of sexual assault in such a public way, in most cases he would have been tried, and he wouldn’t have made it to the Supreme Court, at least not if those good ol’ days were as ideal as I’ve been told, but he’s a white middle aged man and in 2018 that’s a privilege that will bring a “respectable” person back from the edges of ruin.
And you know what? I’m mad about it. I’m mad, I’m scared, and I recently learned that others on the court, Clarence Thomas, for example, had been accused of sexual assault and maintained their jobs as well. It’s infuriating.
Men can be shamed and laughed out of their jobs for having a consensual affair but when they’re potentially a sexual predator, there’s somehow no way that they could have done it. No. I don’t subscribe to that and like many women I have a lot of feelings wrapped up in this for my future and my kids’ future, and frankly I don’t know what to do since the senate gets to make this decision and we the people have no say in it.
I’m going to vote. I’m going to do my part to make a change even if it seems insignificant, but what can we do right now? In a nation where hope is failing, and we have all of these immediate feelings, how do we deal with them and how do we cope? The university offers counseling to students, but how do we let this out on our own time? I know women who are having events to break stuff, so they can smash piñatas today and the patriarchy tomorrow. There are groups of sexual assault survivors on Facebook, on campus, and the U of I Women’s Center also has many great resources.
On my own time, I’ve been writing. I’ve been reading up on candidates. I’ve been cleaning, cooking, talking to other women to try and build them up during this time. I’ve been discussing with my male friends why this is so upsetting. I want to talk it out, but that’s not for everyone.
The problem is that life moves on, and right now, it’s scary to keep moving forward in this world and as a woman. So right now, if you are scared, inhale deeply through your nose and hold it for a few seconds. Let it go through your mouth, and breathe.
In our capitalist society, we shop, we make comfort food, we jibber jabber on about things that we don’t even care about because we want to please others, but that time is done. Women, humans, it is not your job to please anyone; you aren’t weak or crazy for being upset or scared. The people who work in counseling want to help you, your friends want to help you and if neither of them can help you in the ways you need, I’m going to tell you right now you don’t need them to, and it is okay to move on and look for other outlets for your own sanity. Be full, be sad, be angry, be beautiful, be smart, be creative, be who you are, and if that someone is upset right now, then be that and fight. Fight for sex education of all genders, fight for equal rights, fight to keep each other safe.
If you can though, focus on something positive. Clean, cook, smash stuff safely, talk, swear, scream, go for a jog, go hit a punching bag, read and escape to another world, write to build your own, get a squeezy stress ball thing, but you aren’t going to get anywhere by eating all of your emotions, or shopping into debt or lashing out at the wrong men, or deciding that humanity is garbage because this happened. One man got one job; he shouldn’t have. It shouldn’t stop you from pursuing everything you want.
Go out, go vote. Get the representatives that you want and be the hero that you and your daughters need whether it be voting or maybe running for office yourself one day.