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KATIE ZERR: Kavanaugh’s teenage behavior is an issue that needs addressing

Is something that a young man has done during his teenage years a window into what kind of a person he turned out to be?
That is the question we have been hearing about the claim that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh assaulted Christine Blasey Ford during a drunken party when they were both teens. She was 15, he was 17 at the time of the alleged incident.
Both men and women have asked if this is something that should even be taken into consideration when questioning Kavanaugh’s character and fitness to be a on the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court.
First, comments like those from our country’s leaders are disturbing in many ways. To hear Sen. Lindsey Graham say the Democrats are out to destroy Kavanaugh’s character or to have a Minnesota lawmaker Republican Sen. Scott Newman make the following statement- “Even if true, teenagers! Frankly, I don’t believe her. Almost 40 years and now she self-righteously comes forward to save us from a dangerous sex offender. This type of allegation seriously jeopardizes women with a legitimate claim, for who will believe them,” is incredible disturbing.
That is a quote from an adult male. It makes one wonder if that man has daughters.
Are we still so immersed in the “Boys will be boys” culture that we accept this kind of action as a right of passage for young males? Do we still view this as hormonal rage that young males can not control and young females must learn to just deal with it?
It is never okay to force a female to endure unwanted groping of her body by a male no matter what his age.
All of those men who are so cavalier about this should think about what they would do to a young man who forced their daughter onto a bed, covered her mouth with his hand and tried to force himself sexually on her.
How would they react if they found their 15-year-old sister under a young man in that situation?
How would they feel if the guilt of that encounter with the young male impacted their daughter, granddaughter or sister for the rest of her life?
The situation with Kavanaugh’s nomination will work out the way politics will allow it to work out. But for Professor Ford, this will change her life forever. She has already received death threats from the ignoramuses of the country. She has had to move her family into safe housing for fear someone will harm them.
She will be on public display, disparaged and humiliated again and again because she has stepped forward.
What is the upside of this for her? There is none. She is in a lose-lose situation, yet she still felt it important enough to put herself and her family through this.
Women think situations like this are our fault. We go over and over in our minds what could we have done differently.
There are so many that have never said a word. They might have told their closest friends, their preacher or therapist, but most keep it locked inside because of the shame.
The underlying story here is that males still think that sex is something they are entitled to. We still allow them to justify their actions with the notion that nature created a sex drive that is that out of their control. And men, adult, so called mature men, still think it is a female’s job to provide sexual release for males whether they want to or not.
We are still perpetuating the role of females as a vessel for sex, there for the taking. Then in situations likes this, they are aghast that someone would dare bring this to light as if it were not a normal part of growing up. They complain about the consequences they might face if something in their past were to come to light.
Ford remembers the encounter. She was 15 years old when she said Kavanaugh pushed her onto a bed. She says he held her down, fumbled with her clothing, groped her and silenced her screams for help with his hand. She said she feared for her life.
What is normal about forcing a young female to endure the forcible groping of a male, fearing he will rape her and maybe even kill her?
Politics is ugly. We all know that, but Ford came forward because she knows what it is like to live with the shame a woman feels after something like this has happened to them. She knows that this is a character issue. When this Kavanaugh nomination process is over, we must rethink our perception of youthful indiscretion. This should not be viewed as typical high school behavior. If we allow this to continue because “boys will be boys,” we will continue to have females reliving these encounters over and over again, doubting their worth when people minimize the situations. We will teach our daughters and granddaughters that they are less than males and they are there for the taking.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said it loud and clear in a message to her colleagues.
“I just want to say to the men in this country, just shut up and step up. Do the right thing, for a change.”
We should all hope so.
– Katie Zerr –