The news cycles have been saturated with those pitching for or against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. What a shame, and what an assault on the balance of power that our founding fathers saw as essential to a vigorous democracy, that it seems to be taken for granted that our highest court will be just as partisan as the other two branches. (Which doesn’t make the corrosive partisanship in Congress any less destructive.)
And now comes the news that Kavanaugh may have attempted to rape a younger girl in high school, and assaulted multiple other women. Not only the indifference to getting at the truth, nor the lack of respect for the survivor, but also the blatant attempt to ensure the truth never comes to light – this is behavior devoid of any human decency. Yet again, powerful white men lack the even the rudiments of a moral compass, which has never developed, or has been eradicated by an overweening conviction of entitlement and arrogance.
I was sexually assaulted four times – once by my cousin when I was a bit older that Kavanaugh’s first accuser, and three times as a young adult by supervising psychiatrists at facilities where I was working. At one agency, it was accepted practice that all the young female hires were to have sex with the psychiatrist, sometimes on the desk in his office. We were all standing around at a holiday party when it became my turn. When I refused, he pinched the side of my breast so hard that I had a giant bruise for weeks. When it was my turn to present a case at staff meeting, he proceeded to rip me to shreds in front of everyone. Now that I have an understanding of trauma, I recognize my first, immediate response to the pinch, which was “that really didn’t just happen!”
Just like when we suffer a physical injury, we don’t immediately feel pain, our psyches also protect us from the initial onslaught of traumatic abuse or traumatic loss. Furthermore, both initially and subsequently, traumatic memories are stored in the brain in fragments, not as a coherent narrative. Because of that, memory of trauma literally comes back in pieces, frequently triggered by a random event. People who decry a survivor’s time lapse in revealing trauma, just don’t understand it’s physiology.