Woman on Trial
I spent yesterday morning listening to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony. I cried far more tears than I expected to cry, and I could see from the posts on social media that I was not alone.
I welled up with tears of awe at her fortitude and stamina. I cried sad tears because of how she was depicted and picked apart. And I felt so many moments of nauseous disgust.
While she was put on trial in a public arena she never wanted to be in, I thought of all the powerful men who are never put on trial.
The ones who rob thousands of our children from us by declaring needless wars
the ones who destroy precious economic savings through their reckless corporate greed
the ones who abuse and harass and – if any consequence comes to them at all – are quietly let go from their jobs.
None of them given a public, scrutinizing trial.
I will never get over the inequity of who goes on trial and who does not, and how the color of our skin and our gender determines it. And I will keep doing what I can to change it.
There are a thousand things from today we need to talk about together, but today I want to begin with this: I want all of us women to see what we watched today as a play, a kind of narrative – crafted, sculpted, with a point of view that is meant to have a particular impact on us.
The story could have been shaped as one about investigating (truly investigating) a potential crime, or as a story about rape culture in teenage life, or about the patterns of abuse we see amongst powerful men – or all of those. But that is not how the story was shaped for us. The title was given: “Is she telling the truth?” and that question was made the central theme.
The shaping of the story is intended to shape us as women. It is supposed to teach us that the first question to ask a victim is not, “How can we help?” but “Are you to be believed?” It is intended to imprint into our hearts that if we speak up, we will be met not with compassion, but with skepticism from our fellow human beings, when we most need their support. The story is crafted to vivify for us the caricatures of the conniving woman and the good guy wrongly accused. It is here to teach us women to become skeptical of each other, and then, even worse, to become suspicious of our own memories and experiences.
So, my request today to all of us is this: see the play being performed for your inculcation, and choose not to swallow its narrative. Instead, choose consciously what you will make of what you saw, or heard, or read.
choose to let it fuel my dedication to diversify who serves in our government. I choose to not let it teach me to be afraid of all the costs that come with speaking up. I choose instead to be inspired by the courage and values of the woman who did.
I chose to let it provoke questions in me. How can I be more brave? What will I weather for what I care about?
Love to you today,