There’s a second part of that saying and I’ll get to it in a minute.
When all of the recent sexual harassment and assault claims began a couple of months ago, I had a conversation with a friend where I just couldn’t understand how these men (and for the most part it is men) could be doing these things. I just don’t know how to sexually harass someone. Like, where did you learn that skill set to use your power, fame, or wealth as tool to harass women? Yes I’m gay, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t do it if I wanted to. My deputy is attractive in the hipster kind of way and while he’s straight I guess I could harass him. But I’m just not sure how. I can’t even imagine the bad gay porn version of how such a scene would play out where I tried to sexually harass him. It would be laughable. First of all, I know it’s wrong. Second, I like him. He’s a good guy. Third, I know his wife! They are annoyingly cute together and have three children. I just can’t even imagine doing anything to make him even vaguely uncomfortable.
And I don’t bring this up to say what a goodie two-shoes I am. I like a good cocktail as much as the next gay. Or three. I’ve drunk too much. Prayed to the porcelain god. Done stupid things. But I also know that men are pigs. And no, not all of them. But some of them. And yes, even some gay ones (thanks Kevin Spacey).
So when the Cavanaugh accusations came out, I didn’t instantly dismiss them like so many did. A young man from a wealthy family, drunk, and trying to sexually assault a young woman at a high school party? Yeah, this isn’t a stretch at all. And then when reading/listening about Dr. Ford’s story, I felt like she was credible.
I think my opinion on this issue is shaped by three different factors. First, my best friend works for a national victims rights organization. So while I’m no expert, I’m familiar with sexual abuse/assaults, sexual harassments, and how many victims wait years to come forward. Just by supporting my friend and going to various victims right’s events, I’ve seen the long lasting impact these experiences can have on their victims. Second, my sister slept with a bat in her dorm at the Air Force Academy. Yes, a bat. So I know even some fine young men who attend service academies can do bad things. And thirdly, I went to the Naval Academy in the 1980s and I saw first hand how alcohol and sex mixed in a bad way that could have easily lead to something like Dr. Ford experienced.
Head to Hood . . . . for Head. That was the saying. Classy, right? Hood College was an all-girls school near-by and a frequent destination for some of my classmates. And I’ve heard the stories of the alcohol fueled sexual exploits from some of those trips. Let me be clear, I am *not* accusing any of my classmates of assaulting any women. But to provide a little bit of context, one of the uniforms we wore was called “Working Uniform Blue Alpha” or WUBA, but the term WUBA was also used as a slur against some female classmates, “Women Used By All.” So needless to say there was a bit of inherent misogyny at the Naval Academy (and West Point as well though to a lesser extent at the Air Force Academy I think). Combine that misogyny, with normal hormonal urges of young men, and reduced inhibitions from alcohol and I’d be surprised if there wasn’t an incident of sexual assault or two.
So I’m not so willing to casually dismiss the allegations of Dr. Ford as compared to some. There needs to be a full FBI investigation and if the allegations are deemed credible, then Cavanaugh should step down. There was list of judges the Federalist Society gave to President Trump. Just pick another one. The Democrats didn’t make up sexual assault allegations against Gorsuch even after the Republicans gave him the seat that should have been Garland’s. So maybe if you pick someone who doesn’t have a shady past (to put it nicely), then they should be confirmed.
It’s funny (and I keep using that word in the wrong sense and need to find a better adjective), but there’s been a shitstorm over the Nike ad with Colin Kaepernick. I almost think that Dr. Ford would be a better spokesperson for Nike even though she’s not an athlete. I think their slogan is more appropriate, especially for sexual assault victims, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” She’s believed in herself and her civic duty to step forward and has sacrificed a nice life of quiet dignity for death threats and accusations of lying and political motivation in order to tell her truth.