It’s real, even if it doesn’t bother you

Going on Facebook is a risky proposition now, as no matter your political persuasion, poorly researched (or wholly made up) claims and “memes” are likely to make many readers’ blood pressures rise. 

At the center of this high pressure storm of the moment is Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and her claims that Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court who has been going through U.S. Senate hearings, pushed her down on a bed, tried to rip off her clothes and forced his hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming. This allegedly happened when they attended an elite prep high school decades ago.

There’s a lot to sort through in the allegations, the nomination and long time period between the alleged incident and the public charge. Misleading information on Facebook, much of it intentionally faked, isn’t helping.

Already there are Facebook claims – disproved by Snopes.com, the website dedicated to non-partisan myth-busting – that Blasey Ford made a sexual assault accusation against Neil Gorsuch, nominated by Trump to take over the Antonin Scalia’s position on the Supreme Court. Completely false, says Snopes.com.

Other claims circulating on social media include a photo showing Blasey Ford holding a sign that said, “Not my president.” Again, false, as the person in the photo is not Blasey Ford. They both have blonde hair, but that’s the end of the connection. Another photo making rounds on Facebook shows a half-naked woman passed out among a pile of liquor bottles. The photos aren’t even from the appropriate time period, don’t look much like Blasey Ford, and according to Snopes, have been  around the internet for years.

Yet the lie that this is Blasey Ford keeps being repeated. One reason may be skepticism about Blasey Ford based on the amount of time that has passed. It seems people cannot believe a woman would not report such a crime immediately.

President Trump questioned the reliability of Blasey Ford’s claims, while at the same time discouraging an investigation. This action shows how little he – and Facebook trolls– actually know about the troubles women have reporting such events.

A friend – a male friend – posted online this weekend about the trauma of being attacked. “Trauma is real and very personal. We can’t judge another person’s trauma from our perspective. Just because it wouldn’t bother me doesn’t mean it can’t cause real pain to another.”

He talked about the “snapshots” in his head of the time he was attacked, a knife against his throat.

Blasey Ford chose to not report the incident years ago, just as women do all over the U.S., all over Hays County and Buda and Kyle. Women don’t report because they fear the system doesn’t work. They know they will be attacked online. They know the offender could easily get off while they will have to live with the consequences forever.

Women choose not to report the incident because they want to put it in the past. They want to forget.

Many times, the way their brains deal with the situation is to completely block the memory.

And then something triggers a “snapshot” and the victim, the survivor, experiences memories she wanted to forget.

Just because a woman doesn’t report an attack doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Women have long endured the disbelief in the system; they have been questioned by police about what they were wearing, why they were in the place where it happened, why they didn’t react faster.

A full independent investigation into this incident would be appropriate, but that’s not going to happen.

It’s a shame, because it’s just one more slam against women who want to make reports, but are scared.

This time, once again, the system didn’t work.

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