Emma Collum: With Brett Kavanagh, it’s time to end the ‘broken cycle’ - Florida Politics

Emma Collum: With Brett Kavanagh, it’s time to end the ‘broken cycle’

Whenever a public figure faces charges of sexual assault, we follow the same broken cycle — an allegation is made, the accused person denies it, and the survivor is attacked. Then a chorus of voices amplified through cable news discounts the accusation and says, “even if it’s true, it’s not that bad.”

This is a familiar story for many women. It’s my story too.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has lodged a credible allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Since coming forward, she has faced criticism and threats. She and her family have been forced into hiding. If she chooses to testify before the Judiciary Committee, she’ll face a level of scrutiny unlike anything we have seen since the Anita Hill debacle in 1991.

In college, I was the victim of a sexual assault that I have not discussed publicly until today. I did not report the assault because while I cannot speak for all victims, my experience has taught me that to be assaulted is to be traumatized. It is to be left with lingering feelings of doubt, grief, fear and rage. It is to revisit the tragedy over and over and to constantly question if you’re to blame. It is to go months and years with pain buried deep in your consciousness and then to have a certain smell or sound bring it flooding back as if you were reliving it. To be sure, it is something that you cannot understand unless you’ve experienced it.

For Dr. Ford to have experienced an assault at the hands of Judge Kavanaugh, to speak up, then to face smears and unwarranted retaliation from people making no effort to understand her ordeal is a national travesty.

Her decision to come forward could not possibly have been easy. Even I, who represented abused women in court and founded the Florida Women’s March, have struggled with whether to tell my story. But we need to speak up if we want to make change.

When 73 of 75 Republicans in the Florida House signed a letter supporting Kavanaugh, they asked us to ignore the very serious allegations leveled against him. Their letter ends with “Recognize the truth, unify the country, confirm Judge Kavanaugh …” Florida Republicans aren’t just calling for the country to unify around Kavanaugh. They’re calling for extreme partisans to unify against all allegations of sexual assault. They think that if they stand together, no woman can get in their way.

It’s time to prove them wrong. Women need to be heard. We need to be believed. Most of all, we need a seat at the table so that we can lead the charge against a toxic culture of permissiveness. The “Me Too” movement shined a light on the stories held secretly by so many of us. It slowly began to destigmatize a subject we urgently need to address. Any attempts to undermine the credible claims of women who come forward to speak their truths fly in the face of the advances we have made. I refuse to turn back the clock on our progress.

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Emma Collum is an attorney, activist and co-founder of the National Women’s March. She is also a Democratic candidate for Florida House District 83.

37 Comments

  1. If an accusation cannot provide the simple who, what, when, where and/or why then how does it become “credible”?

    1. Would you say that to someone accused of robbing a bank? How about some other crime? Every 98 seconds someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. And those are the ones that are just reported. There are many more that are not reported. 30 years later men say priests sexually assaulted them and everyone believes them. Doesn’t seem to work the other way around very often.

    2. “Simple” is the operative word here … the one that most people rely on without having any idea how complex it really is. The fear, the embarrassment, the stress and anxiety resulting for an event like this is NOT “simple”.

      1. Female blogger is ordered to pay US Army colonel she accused of rape $8.4million in damages after he claimed the false allegations cost him a sparkling military career
        Susan Shannon, 52, who now lives in Everett, Washington, first alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Army Colonel David ‘Wil’ Riggins in 1986
        She said she waited three decades to come forward about her experience because of the army’s ‘code of silence’
        But Riggins, also 52, who vehemently denied the claims, said the ‘false’ allegations had cost him a sparkling military career

        1. That’s great and all but here’s the problem. The republicans who interviewed him refuse to provide their names or details on why they ar coming forward. Who’s to say they aren’t paid by republicans to lie if they won’t even admit to the world that they did it. That’s why those confessions are total BS. They didn’t walk into the senate hearing and admit this and authenticate their story. Dr. Ford put her life on the line in front of the whole country. If they actually did it they should be known and charged with the crime. That would be proof instead of a phantom interview with two men whose names we don’t know.

          1. Ben what you so eloquently leave out, both have been found by the FBI and are being interviewed. You really think that this is going to be hidden. They can be charged with sexual assault, as Maryland has no statute of limitation on this crime. And if for any reason this is as you say a fabricated story, “paid for by the Republicans”, charges will follow. Guess this just doesn’t follow your agenda. So these two as has come out of the information that was given to the committee, was at the time not in the letter and unknown to anybody except the victim of the crime (Dr Ford) and the perpetrators. May be a problem for Dr Ford, as she can be charged with lying to congress under oath.

    3. Credible is a relative term. The fact is that no one will ever be credible in your eyes if they accuse someone who you happen to support. And you support Kavanaugh because an orange ape nominated him. Thoughts and prayers to you.

    4. Not being able to talk to the witness’s makes it somewhat difficult,wouldn’t you say? Refusing to have an investigation(one minute it’s “anything the committee wants “and the next whining anytime is too long and refusing a polygraph, and defying the Senators, yelling at them and asking them questions-when in your courtroom-someone who behaved like that would be in contempt of court and escorted out in handcuffs!

        1. You must be an idiot to not realize Kavanaugh’s behavior was totally unacceptable and unbecoming of a nominee for a Supreme Court judge. Do you have a mother?

          1. @Maria Sherven – I do have a mother and she would agree that there is a difference in Righteous Indignation and anger – that man was not angry – he was righteously indignant. – my mother and I both know the difference. May God rest her soul. Love ya Momma !

        2. Omg you don’t see his reaction as angry? You are completely blind to everything that is a fact about this case. Good luck in your bubble of lies.

  2. Her allegation is not valid. Where are the witnesses? Men can be accused of something and have to prove they are innocent. Men are under attack. I thought in America, you were innocent until PROVEN guilty. Times have changed, now you are guilty and have to prove your innocence. This is all political because the liberal left does not want a true conservative on the Supreme Court that will be the deciding judge. That is all it is about, wake up people.

    1. Then why wasn’t Gorsuch attacked in a similar way? Think it through. You’re dense but hopefully not that dense. Thoughts and prayers to Kavanaugh the blackout drunk.

  3. One thing you do have right is that this is a travesty. You lost me when you transferred the burden of proof from her to him and automatically assumed because you were assaulted, so was she. No. I am sorry you had the experience you did. But it was not “JUDGE” kavanaugh that did it. He is INNOCENT until proven guilty. This is politics pure and simple.

    https://nomomrniceguy.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/honesty-belief-and-behavior/

    https://nomomrniceguy.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/honesty-truth-trust-and-relationships/

    1. There’s no burden of proof for a job application. Kavanaugh is applying to the most prestigious court in our country and there are credible allegations that he attempted rape and bragged about it in his yearbook. I’m okay with “boys will be boys” up until they’re vying for a lifetime appointment that could go to a non-sexual predator.

      1. Well that is true. However this is a HEARING – also known as Quasi Judicial and when in session federally illegal to purge oneself under. So let’s start there. They are the Judge and Jury. It is the FBI much like Local law enforcement’s job to look for misdoings and present to the state for prosecution. Well – they have done that 6 times. So yes is the right answer – there is a burden of proof in this matter because it is not a job interview. It is a Judicial process (hint:judiciary committee) for this group of Senators to vet the qualifications of the nominee. Not like Judge Judy so it is probably a little harder for you to grasp @Mike but that’s understandable. So I do not hold your ignorance or social justice slant on the matter against you. They can call for their own investigation. As dirty as the FBI is I would not doubt they could collude against him. To bad really. There are much bigger issues we could be dealing with. Oh well.

        https://nomomrniceguy.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/why-am-i-not-of-an-ideology-and-political-motivation-that-is-liberal-or-progressive-in-its-core/

  4. Thank you for speaking out and standing up. Thank you for having courage. This protectionist male culture must be challenged. It sickens me to hear women blame themselves. What kind of message are we sending to our children? I’m saddened by the lack of empathy displayed. I’m not surprised though. Keep speaking out. We need advocates like you, Emma. We need someone in our court. thank you

    1. empathy – really – does assault occur – YES – should it – NO – do I have empathy for true victims – YES – but let’s not cloud the issue with this political crap and say that it is the place for this. It is not. Good women are not going to come forward when a culture of lies and deceit surround allegation. They are liable to think that they will be labeled the same. So, stop with the politicization of the abuse and deal with it at the level it is intended too. This is purely political. End of story.

  5. By the way – men have come forward saying they were the aggressors – Not Brett K. So….now……who do you believe? The men or women – see what is happening here – POLITICS ! This is what happen when we act like children with no sense ! because they said it – you have to believe it is not a good way to go. Just being a woman does not make an allegation true. It does not mean it is not true either. See – we have this thing called BURDEN OF PROOF in matters like this that guides our social discourse and action. So…… we either are or we aren’t. Next time it could be you and if we just accept your accusers side – you could be the one over the barrel – so…. be careful the precedent you want set.

  6. I am waiting for something of substance to come from this candidate. She is asking for our vote in District 93 simply because she is a female and a Democrat. She doesn’t have any experience dealing with Tallahassee, has no voting record whatsoever and last night couldn’t even find Imperial Point Hospital in time to make it to the candidates forum at the 6:30 arrival time. I heard her say on my way out that she went to the wrong hospital. The other candidates came early and spoke with us and she walked in late, everyone was sitting around staring at each other until she finally came in and they got started. I don’t begrudge her the chance to hold an office and effect change where it’s needed but she cannot find Imperial Point and she wants to represent the entire District? I was ready to vote for her but the forum was just her repeating how its time for a new point of view, however that isn’t substantial enough for me. Chip Lamarca has really shown us in Imperial Point that he will show up when we need him to, and he’s always been able to find us on a map.

    1. So…she is a candidate for office….uses Brett for exposure….and blames men for the culture of abuse. Humph ! Pot calling the kettle black – talk about exploiting a life experience for personal gain. Brett K has nothing to do with the authors story other than a way to get some attention for her campaign – shame – you do injustice to women everywhere.

      1. I agree. It seems like a ploy to get clicks on social media. After last night’s incident, not appreciated by this voter.

  7. so sorry but allegations are not facts they are claims and this is not the first time the claims turned out to be false what about Clarence Thomas, the claims were presumed to be true and yet they were false, given the actions of democrats over the past 2 years it is most probable that she was put up to this

  8. It is terribly wrong that you were assaulted. It is wrong that anyone is assaulted. That however does not mean that just because a person says they were – means they were. There is a process. It needs to be followed – unless the next time you are accused you do not want the same consideration. Just sayin. – What is even worse about this is that this is the gutter our nation has fallen into because of political BS. Grow up America.

  9. An abused women does not come out it such a public forum to lie . Dr Ford could have remained silent but she chose to do what was right not for herself, or her family but for the country When Kavanagh said he had 70 letters from women who he did not abuse it is like a murder saying they had letters from thousands of women they did not kill #believewomen #believeEmma

  10. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said she came out for her country. Do you know her? Do you know her background? Do you know what stock she owns? Do you know who she has worked for? Do you know anything about her? She did come out for her country as a call to progressive ends. Which in today’s world translates to truth be damned and if the ends justify the means then it is ok. As long as it is your means that is being justified in the end.

    For those of us with our eyes open we can see this for what it is.

  11. we sure need to believe sexual assault victims. But,Im beginning to wonder, why de we as democrats cover up and deny when the offender is a…….Democrat?

  12. Not all women tell the truth. Yrs, some women do lie, fabricate and eleborate. Just because she says so doesn’t prove the allegation…. facts with corroborating evidence do or it’s just a smear campaign. I find it sadly funny how in similar cases these Democrats didn’t seem believe or support all the women accusing Clinton, Booker and Kennedy

  13. Nice gravatar by the way @Robert – your question is a good one. Based upon the evidence presented in this judicial process of confirmation, all be it bipartisan beyond divide, the answer is yes. The collusion of those involved in this emboldened effort of deceit for the purpose of nothing beyond disruption of constitutional moray is on display for all with their eyes and minds open to see. It is near treasonous in their deceit and the subversion to create such a circumstance as this. I am embarrassed for Americans and for anyone that stands next to the Democrats. How could you in all reasonable self respect remain a Democrat after this display of un-American ethics and values. Unless of course the ends justify the means and then we get back to our Social Justice warriors and their snowFlake legions, but I digress.

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