Believing Survivors

A image a Dr. Chrsitine Blasey Ford giving her emotional testimony against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanugh.

A image a Dr. Chrsitine Blasey Ford giving her emotional testimony against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanugh.

Sophie DiFrancesco, News Editor

On September 27, 2018, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified against Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanagh accusing him of sexual assault. This testimony made national news and was given before the Senate Judiciary Committee. This testimony brought up the long going conversation of sexual assault and believing survivors. After the “Me Too” movement taking national coverage in Hollywood, this topic has been the main controversy among many. Now more than ever, survivors are starting to come forward and report their sexual assaults. With new movements such as “Why I Didn’t Report It,” survivors are feeling safe to share their own stories.

For most of time, including the modern age, women have been treated as secondary objects in society and not given the right to speak out on important issues which directly impact them. With recent movements allowing survivors to speak out, more power is continually being reclaimed by women all around the world. While this has been happening, there has also been a widespread of movements counteracting the daily progress being made by women. With concerns spreading over “false accusations,” many women are not being believed and their experiences are being discredited. In the United States, one in three women will experience some form of sexual violence in their life time and one in five women will be raped. These numbers are shockingly high and it goes to show how often sexual assault happens. Even though sexual assault most commonly happens to women, men are also victims and experience the impact of modern society. With these statistics in mind, only around 2% to 10% of sexual assaults are falsely reported. False accusations can, and have ruined people’s lives, but compared to the numbers of people actually impacted, the numbers are low.

In today’s age, social media is a tactic to help spread different parties’ political agendas to a wide majority of people. On social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook, the message of “think of your sons” is being spread to spread the ideology of how false accusations affect lives. This tactic has been used in a multitude of situations, such as when women are sexually assaulted, the message of “think of your daughter or wife” was spread around, but the whole idea behind relating a situation to yourself or family is corrupt. If something awful happens to anyone, a person should understand that it is bad because it is happening to someone, even if the person has no direct connection to them. When the idea that “it could happen to your son/daughter” is spread, it also inadvertently spreads the ideology that it only matters if it happens to someone close to you. This tactic is effective though, especially in spreading that false accusations could “ruin your son’s life.”  Even though the statistics show that the number of false accusations is nowhere close to the number of people actually affected by sexual assault, survivors are being discredited due to a few bad apples in the bunch who have lied about sexual misconduct.

Over 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police due to the fear of not being believed to being afraid that they would be blamed. Sexual assault and misconduct has always been and will most likely always be a serious problem all around the world but change has to start now. First and foremost, rapist and people who commit sexual assault need to be charged and prosecuted but also people need to start believing survivors, or the world will continually have moments advocating for survivor’s with no long term effect.