The Supreme Court, @#MeToo and PTSD

A letter to the editor in today’s New York Times hard copy:

Every woman in America over 45 is having a full-blown case of post-traumatic stress disorder this week reliving the Anita Hill hearings, complete with flashbacks to some of the same senators who judged her then. — Jane Adams, Seattle

Me, too.

Just after Anita Hill’s testimony, I was on the phone with a close friend with whom I once worked. She believed Anita Hill, but in an anxious, defensive burst (she then called herself a Republican), said, “Well, what Clarence Thomas did to Anita Hill isn’t any worse than what [name] did to us!”

“That’s right,” I said, “and if [name] had been nominated to the Supreme Court, I’d be calling the FBI immediately.” I think I tried then to distinguish the position and power [name] had in our lives with the power wielded by a Supreme Court Justice over all of us, but I’m not sure. It took me a while just to write the previous sentence.

So I’m entirely empathetic with Christine Blasey Ford who has, it seems, regarded Kavanaugh’s nomination as a painful call to higher citizenship — the sort I wanted to imagine for myself during the Thomas hearings.

I still seem to be in an emotional tangle about why I refuse to write the man’s name, call him out, in effect. What he did to us was definitively a form of sexual assault, although he did not touch us. It was creepy, if not as bad as what Kavanaugh (allegedly, and boy I loathe writing that word in this instance) did to Dr. Blasey, but, yes, everything has swept back into my frontal consciousness.

As it has to Kurt Eichenwald who today, on Twitter, told the agonized story of how, when he was 17, he was raped in an ER where he’d been admitted for an epileptic seizure, and tells us all how difficult it has been for him to write about it.

Another letter to the Times:

I was sexually assaulted as a young woman. Christine Blasey Ford’s account of her experience rings true for me.

I never called the police, although I felt certain that I knew who attacked me. I told only one close friend at the time, and it was years before I told anyone else. I couldn’t bring myself to tell my parents. I felt frightened, embarrassed and ashamed; I just wanted to put it behind me.

So there is no record of what happened to me. It happened, nonetheless. Dr. Blasey deserves a chance to be heard and believed, no matter when the events took place. — Carol Nuetzman Weber, Oceanside, N.Y.

There are other stories, too many other stories.

Rebecca Traister wrote today on Twitter, “The force of female protest right now feels like it has the potential to shake our power structure to its core.”

Yes, I believe it does.


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1 Response to The Supreme Court, @#MeToo and PTSD

  1. Kim says:

    Too many stories indeed. So many incidents occurred in my own high school, too many to enumerate. I am still in touch with some of the women that I went to school with and we have only recently talked with each other about some of the things that happened to us in and outside of school. Sometimes these events are so painful that they are buried and not mentioned. We are all 68 years old and we are finally talking. Please teach your sons to respect women.

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