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Statement: BARCC Responds to Vote to Approve Brett Kavanaugh’s Nomination to the Supreme Court

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Today, the United States Senate approved Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the United States Supreme Court. Gina Scaramella, executive director of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, released the following statement in response:

“The Senate’s vote to approve Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is a painful reminder of the work that remains to be done to ensure that those who commit acts of sexual violence—whether it is sexual abuse, assault, or harassment—are investigated properly and held accountable. It is also a reminder that we must ensure that survivors have the support they need to seek healing and justice. The debate in the last several weeks has highlighted that people of all genders who are victimized—whether at age 5, 15, 50, or 100—need access to confidential, expert, and accessible treatment and services.

“Now, we need to turn our attention squarely on the many ways in which our options for justice are too narrow to be effective for survivors of sexual violence. Even as the majority of people found Dr. Ford’s testimony not only credible but familiar, and even as it was offered as part of a job interview and not a criminal trial, the status quo stayed intact. The reports by survivors in this process were not properly investigated. This failure of accountability exemplifies two of the most significant ways in which survivors are silenced: the first is by characterizing a serious act of sexual violence as a ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘misconduct,’ when that is most certainly not the view of the survivor; the second is doubting a survivor’s report based on ignorance and myths about how people respond to trauma and how offenders respond to an accusation. In this whole process, we once again witnessed exactly what survivors are up against.

“Kavanaugh will soon be an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, and it is almost beyond comprehension that the court will now have not one, but two, credibly accused offenders among its members. Our culture must change so that our first instinct as a society is to believe survivors, the second is to support them, and the third is to investigate and hold offenders appropriately accountable.

“Today’s vote shows the urgent need for social change. We need the public to better understand that the systems meant to offer justice rarely do for survivors. One in three women, one in six men, and almost one in two people who are transgender experience sexual violence; the number who will see justice as it is currently defined in our criminal legal system is only a tiny fraction—even when they report. So, the current criminal legal system is not the magic solution, and we need to get serious in building pathways for justice as survivors define it.

“We are nowhere near where we need to be, but the road forward is becoming clearer. We are making progress, and nothing and no one can roll it back.”

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Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center provides free, confidential support and services to survivors of sexual violence ages 12 and up and their families and friends. We work with survivors regardless of when the violence occurred, and our goal is to empower survivors to heal. We also work with a wide range of organizations and communities, including schools, colleges, and police, to advocate for change. We provide training in how to respond to survivors and create cultures that prevent sexual violence in the first place.

1 Comment

  1. We are in a transformational time. Because of the current events, and the critically important #MeToo movement, there is trust and honesty that is peeling back the veil of secrecy and shame over sexual assault. In the last year I’ve discovered that my mother and her cousin were molested at a very young age by an uncle, and my grandmother was raped at twelve or thirteen by the same man. My 85-year old mother found the courage to call her senator, a Republican on the panel, to share her story. And now my mother and my daughter are sharing their stories with each other - my daughter was sexually assaulted in college. While it utterly guts me that sexual assault is rampant in our society, it restores my faith that it can get better when women trust and respect and lift each other up. We must rally to end this. We are powerful and strong and we represent 50% of the population. When we represent 50% of the House and Senate we WILL change this - and we’ll change the world. Let’s do this! Let’s get out and vote to be represented by strong and thoughtful women who will change the conversation, change the culture, change the laws, and change the world for ourselves, our daughters and our future.

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