The Judge Brett Kavanaugh vs Dr Christine Ford Case, Sexual Assault, Agents Of Patriarchy, And Their Significance To Zambian Rape Culture.

Blasey-Ford-Kavanaugh-Hearings-Trigger-Trauma-Sexual-Assault-Victims-RM-722x406

Brett Kavanaugh

Oh yes. Let’s talk about it. While I really didn’t want this to be one of the first things I write about after a long spell of writers block because it makes me so sad, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a blogger if I didn’t .

WARNING: a fair amount of political satire was used in the writing of this article in hopes of keeping readers from being completely depressed by the situation

And so the FBI has concluded their investigation and the accused has been sworn in. The past 4 weeks have seen what may be the most dramatic U.S. supreme court nominations in history since the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas case. Let’s do a quick re-cap shall we?

Brett Kavanaugh. Basically your typical former Ivy League law student turned U.S. attorney turned judge appointed by former U.S president George W Bush. I mean the guy was a pretty typical candidate so his nomination was to be expected. He’s the type of person the Republican GOP (Grand Old Party) get all googly eyed over real quick.

2018-07-11-petnajst-udarcev-s-sodniškim-kladivcem-89243

But the sh** hit the fan when just as ole Brett was getting ready to Macarena his way to his seat in the Supreme court, allegations about him sexually assaulting a woman he knew in highschool surfaced.

debra_katz_ford_kavanaugh

Dr Christine Blasey Ford came forward and told her story of sexual assault, in which a teenage Brett pushed her into a room at an alcohol fueled party, cranked up some music and basically proceeded to rape her repeatedly with his friend Mark Judge in the room.

BlaseyFord_CNN_Main

She went on to detail just how her life has been impacted since. This resulted in very what seemed to be very proactive action by the FBI to investigate Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the allegations against him. It didn’t take long for two more victims to come forward and tell their stories of also being sexually assaulted by the GOPs golden boy. Seems ole Brett was a busy young man back in the day.

IMG_0026-600x310

Deborah Rameriz accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her during a dorm room party. Then there’s Julie Swetnick who claimed Judge Brett Kavanough and his seemly weirdo friend Mark Judge were pretty much an unscrupulous duo (to put it frankly), that would lace drinks with intoxicants to make it easier for them to engage in lewd behavior.

hqdefault

And so here we are after 4 weeks of the hearings. People are outraged! Be it those supporting the victims by encouraging them to tell their stories in order to have justice served or the patriarchal GOP (and supporters) who aren’t hearing any of it calling it a “conspiracy by democrats”.

There was insults, screaming, yelling and yes… even crying.

unnamed

Now I know that there are a number of people outside of the US that probably don’t pay attention nor follow “Free World” politics that may feel that the entire debacle is irrelevant to them especially in the third world.

439b8bf4fe97b7fabd9123e2122aa2a9ef284d4974ef668cedc5508d8708178d

Let me be clear: IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH US.

This isn’t just about one woman, it’s about all women. It’s about sexual assault cases world over and how we choose to handle victims.

While the U.S. may not be the worlds most economically powerful country in the world, it may very well be the most influential. Not only in terms of pop culture and technology but politically as well. As third world countries, we often times imitate when we’re lost.

photo_verybig_104826

So what does this mean? What it means is, the way the US has handled this controversial case may very well influence how imitating recipients of U.S donor aid like Zambia decide to treat cases of sexual assault cases themselves.

USA_Zambia_Locator_2.svg

Recently Zambia has seen an increase in rape cases, as we’re coming to the end of 2018. Its estimated that 47% of Zambian women will experience some form of GBV (Gender Based Violence) in their lifetime. With an average of 100 rape cases per yearly quarter, clearly Zambia has a problem. Our country now has what we consider a rape culture. This rape culture is perpetuated even further by the cyber bullying of victims as a means of intimidation.

fb_img_1537781277550

So what is rape culture you may ask?

980x

It basically refers to how any society from the U.S’s Kavanaugh case to Zambias “Petauke Porn Producer” trial and everywhere in-between, have prevailing social attitudes that normalize and/or trivialize sexual assault and abuse. The perpetuation of these attitudes play a huge role in the persistence of rape culture in Zambia and beyond.

Inaccurate legislation also plays a big part in attitudes towards rape because factors constituting rape are not always spelled out, especially in the Zambian constitution.

cover_preview

For example legislation in the Zambian judicial systems inability to fully qualify marital rape as rape leaving it up for debate. The fact that our government does not help clearly define rape in legislation results in misconstrued views on the urgency of the situation, and from what we can clearly tell rape culture is ignored often times resulting in victims being viewed as irrelevant or perpetrators themselves for speaking up.

Let’s be clear, any sexual act performed without consent is rape and should be treated as such. It’s a crime. A violation of one’s human rights.

54192

 

The fact that this concept is still considered a grey area and still isn’t fully comprehended by many in 2018 is insane!

what-the-hell-03a1ne

There is one thing that is strikingly similar in both contexts: the invalidation of victims experiences. Something that is true for sexual assault victim’s world over.

The most interesting part about this case was we got to see just how united people can be for the sake of a misogynistic cause. I recently met a Kenyan feminist during a meeting at Action Aid Zambia that used a term that stood out to me. “Agents of patriarchy”. People who perpetuate acts of patriarchy through their actions.

 

The length that people went to in order to discredit and bulldoze through any allegations that were  made against Judge Brett Kavanaugh was astonishing. While you would assume that common decency would provide that the victim would be heard out, it was clear that wasn’t the case.

920x920

Now I cannot say whether or not these allegations are true because as the U.S. constitution says “innocent until proven guilty”.

The federal judiciary of the United States

But how can his innocence even be proven by a halfhearted investigation in which the victim is bullied and scrutinized through the entire process. The least the senate could have done was display genuine empathy and be open to considering the reality of the victim’s version of events without any bias relating to their political motives. This is the Anita Hill case all over again.

anita-hill-clarence-thomas-scandal

History is repeating itself. The reality that Anita Hill faced and Dr Ford is facing now is that which women have been facing since the dawn of time world over.

lead_draft_1_anita_christine.0

In the Zambian context there are plenty of men in the most powerful positions that have far worse track records that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is allegeded to have, but like Dr Christine Ford, victims live with their abuse and only come much later on because the reality is what chance do they stand?

cassie-kabwita

Unfortunately when it comes to sexual assault cases it’s never a case of “better late than never”. No matter the time frame, women are questioned heavily and scrutinized when reporting abuse/assault, but even more so when they delay claims.

Victims are very rarely given the benefit of the doubt.

The assumption is that if it’s true then why wait so long. But then again what motive is there to run straight to report the cases if women know that the chances of their story being heard and believed is zero to none. Knowing that they themselves will be questioned about their role in the situation and what they “did” to get themselves in that predicament, almost as though they chose to be assaulted.

pointthefingers_illustration_liberty-antonia-sadler_metro

If you bring it back home to Zambia the validity of women’s cases is questioned from the point when the case is reported. The patriarchy and judgement begins at the police station and/or hospitals according to victims.

CHILENJE-COURT

Even though the FBI “investigation” is over and the judge has been sworn, the reality is, it was over before it even began.

the_kavanaugh_family_and_donald_trump

Even though the report has been delivered and deemed “the most comprehensive investigation of a supreme court nominee in history”, minds were made up from the beginning. Reports say that of the 40 witnesses that were prepared to contribute to the case only 9 were interviewed. None of which were Dr Christine Ford nor Judge Brett Kavanaugh himself. I mean why bother? It was clear from the beginning that whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh did it or not didn’t really matter, the GOP was going to work tirelessly to make sure he gets his seat regardless.

Supreme Court Kavanaugh

While the world might have hoped that the investigation was meant to give someone who claimed to have been victimized a chance to seek justice, it was really just to give “agents of patriarchy” within the GOP leverage to vote Brett Kavanaugh in, which they intended to do from day one. Only this was the politically correct way to do it.

mitch-mcconnell-kavanaugh-interview

US senator Mitch McConnnell stated countless times that “Judge Kavanaugh will be on the Supreme Court”. But this is the daunting reality of what it means to be a victim. Your voice is seldom heard, and your chances are your story won’t be believed.

The fact remains that unless you possessed a commendable amount of blinding optimism, you knew that Brett Kavanaugh would be sworn into the Supreme court. Once again a sexual assault victim’s story is watered down in hopes of masking its existence, and world over the reality that powerful men trump women any given day will remain true.

FB_IMG_1538909219971

Chances are world is watching and taking notes. We can only hope that with time the #metoo movement will make way for victims voices to actually be heard sooner rather than later.

FB_IMG_1538825880595

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s