Silver Spoons, Sexual Violence and the Twilight Zone

Often I have an experience of feeling like I landed in some mixed up, twisted, twilightish place. This morning was no different. I was preparing to co-lead a race equity training, eating a pretty good frittata at the hotel restaurant and Christine Blasey Ford came up on the T.V. and she began to testify. I don't find myself feeling triggered most of the time. I've been following the #metoo movement, hash tagging #believewomen and following the ludicrous hearing for Kavanaugh. He's prepared to waltz into one of the most important offices in the country.

I was raped over twenty years ago. I have had years of therapy and primarily recovered from the experience. It took a long time and I am sure there are long lasting impacts from my experience of sexual assault that I don't quite understand or notice.

This morning, I had the experience of eating, prepping for the training and listening to a survivor recount her story of sexual violence. I wanted to make the world stop, watch and listen. It was surreal to be eating, prepping for work and listening to Dr. Ford's story. It was so triggering I could hardly focus. This is complex and there are so many layers. It was triggering because she has to prove her credibility. Triggering because dominant, male, white supremacist culture doesn't #believewoman. It was triggering because it is clear that her experience of sexual violence lives inside her bones and now, she has to expose her wounds to everyone in order to stop another rapist from inhabiting a position of power that is undeserved and only available because of male, white privilege. It was triggering because women aren't believed, black women aren't believed, black people aren't believed, people of color aren't believed, LGBTQ folks aren't believed...

It was triggering because when we compare Anita Hill to Dr. Ford, we erase Anita's race and we miss the layer of how race impacted her story and the reception of her story. It is triggering because it shouldn't have happened. Sexual violence shouldn't be normalized and yet, it feels as if it is about to be.

Yes, Dr. Ford is brave. I mean truly courageous. Even when she was terrified she spoke. And many watching her were inspired by her courage. I am, and I want sexual violence to stop. I want abuse of power to end. I want it to not be okay for a rapist to be president and another to serve on the supreme court. I want us to hold the complexities and wounds that this moment brings up for people and I want us to remember this. I want women like me and Dr. Ford to stop having to justify their very being.

So as you move about your day in your normal activities, remember this moment. Remember that Dr. Ford was put on trial, remember Brett Kavanaugh's silver spoon is likely to afford him more power and remember what message this very moment and it's outcome will send to future generations. It is time for this to stop. It is time. I don't know what I will do to make it stop but I know I will continue to speak truth and to uplift voices that are silenced. I know I will challenge the white, patriarchal system. I know I will wrap my arms around friends who are survivors. #believewomen #stopsexualviolence #fuckthepatriarchy #fuckwhitesupremacy

Michelle Johnson