This Kavanaugh hearing has triggered some deep emotions for a lot of women– me included.
One most surprising things I noticed as I moved through the city this week was the number of conversations suggesting that Kavanaugh’s behavior should be brushed under the rug. I find this disappointing because I too am a survivor of sexual assault.
When I was only 11 years old with very little knowledge of my body and who I should let touch me, there was a man who would come over to our house to visit with one of my aunts. After a while, my mom trusted him enough to leave me and my brother alone with him. As I reflect back on the day I decided to tell my mother that he had been “touching” me, what I remember most was that he’d convinced me that if I told anyone I would get in trouble. Because of that fear it took me a whole year to tell my mom. By the time I told her, the guy had stopped coming over and my aunt no longer lived with us. I remember wanting to tell the police and I remember my mother not wanting to do that. Eventually, she suggested that we sweep it under the rug. I remember my mother crying that night, but we never spoke of it again.
I asked myself what type of childhood my mother had that would allow her to brush such behavior under the rug but later I found out. My mother and many of my aunts and my grandmother have all shared with me some of the darkness they experienced with sexual abuse during their own childhood. And I have forgiven my mother because I recognize that she was a teen mom with limited parenting skills at the time.
One of the things I did to help change this pattern of abuse in my family, was to seek counseling in my early 30s, which was not easy considering that my own family wanted me to act as if nothing had ever happened.
I hope the truth comes out in the Kavanaugh hearing but I also hope that this case is making people more aware of sexual abuse and how to deal with it.