Just when we think Donald Trump can’t say or do anything worse than what he’s already said or done, he has a way of surprising us. And today’s unforgivably ignorant comment came in relation to Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
Ford came forward with accusations that Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her at a party when they were both teenagers in the early 1980s. She said the Supreme Court nominee held her down and covered her mouth as he attempted to forcibly undress her, and she believes she only got away because he was so severely inebriated. Ford’s therapist has records of her discussing the traumatic incident over several sessions in 2012, and her husband has also corroborated the story. For his part, Kavanaugh has denied all allegations. Many conservatives have flocked to his defense, claiming it’s some kind of political “hit job,” and lobbing sexist accusations at Ford (for her safety, she has had to move out of her home and hire private security since coming forward).
And today, September 21st, Donald Trump tweeted about the allegations, proving yet again that he remains dangerously ignorant about the realities of rape culture.
This comment ignores several basic realities—not the least of which is that approximately two out of three sexual assaults go undocumented every year—meaning only about 30% actually ever get reported. Countless victims—often women—choose to remain silent in the face of sexual assault and misconduct due to feelings of shame, retaliation, or simply fear that they will not be believed. Ford has received countless death threats even now, in 2018, for speaking her truth, and we can only imagine what kind of pressure might have kept her silent as a 15-year-old girl in 1981.
Trump’s comment promotes the dangerous misconception that a rape or assault did not occur if it wasn’t “officially” reported. We’d be lying if we said we expected better of the current POTUS, but it doesn’t mean we’re any less angry.
If you or someone you know is or has been the victim of sexual assault, know that you can reach out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.