All night, my phone has been buzzing, from 7 pm to noon. As of the last count, my tweet has garnered 1,025 retweets and 1,651 likes. Last night those numbers hit me hard. Every ping and buzz of my phone – every new retweet and like made my chest concave.
In a small, isolated way this huge jump in my social media impact was an indicator of how many people, in my own small realm of influence, have been affected by sexual assault and trauma.
My tweet was in reference to RAINN’s (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) phone helpline spike in calls last evening. Last night that spike was 147%, this morning it’s been bumped up to a 201% spike in calls to the hotline.
The fact that this hearing, that Dr. Ford’s willingness to be examined and questioned about her assault in front of not only a committee of senators but also in front of the eyes of the nation, would not only resonate with so many – but also cause so many to relive their own personal traumas shatters me.
There are so many of us, walking around with this experience, living inside of us, churning and clawing. We do so much work to move beyond our traumas – to heal and thrive despite them. Yet, even with all of that work, it only takes an assault being front and center in the news, and it all comes flooding back.
That churning, clawing thing grips on tighter, and every horrid detail your brain has neatly packed away launches from it’s carefully controlled cage and comes out to play. However, perhaps, what is more terrifying, then having to relive those details – what is really traumatizing us all over again is the fact that we all know despite Dr. Ford’s testimony, despite the allegations, we all know its not enough.
The ruling party will vote Judge Kavanaugh in – and yet again, a victims testimony will mean nothing. The alleged perpetrator will not only walk free but will be allowed to bloom while the victim has to once again, center themselves, readjust their skin over the gaping wound they just exposed, and attempt to regain the strength they’ve spent years carefully cultivating.
I hope to God; I’m wrong. I hope that this is the turning point where an accusation of assault is enough to make people question. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, and it’s a position that once Judge Kavanaugh is appointed to, he cannot be fired from or removed from. Thus I would hope Judge Kavanaugh would be held to the highest standard, yet accusations of assault didn’t stop this current America from electing our current President.
And, I fear that once again, this government will side with the accused attacker, and once again every woman who has ever been assaulted will know that our stories are less than that of our attackers and that our culture cares not for our experiences or traumas.
Again, I hope I’m wrong, but as the 1:30 vote approaches, my gut tells me Judge Kavaughn will be believed, and Dr. Ford, despite her bravery will be a poster child for all our survivor (male and female included) experiences.
So, allow me to say this, my fellow survivors – to the over 1,600 people who have resonated with my tweet – know that you are not alone. You have a commandery that none of us would have chosen, but none the less found ourselves a part of. We must take care of each other. We must continue to speak about our experiences – in the hope that our voices joined together can create a tipping point. Perhaps, before too long, the victim will be believed over the accused. However, more than that, I want us to walk hand in hand, to care for one another and to protect future generations from this pain.
We can do that. We are strong. We survive.
Even though it’s not fair, even though our experiences contort and test us, even though days like this make us relive all the pain, fear and terror again – know that we will survive.
And, to those who are voting today, know that we are watching and we will not forget what you do.