The Damage Created by Politicizing Sexual Assault
The public conversation about sexual assault, a matter that should be held far above politics, is becoming an increasingly partisan issue. The problem of sexual assault is a widespread one that crosses party lines, demographics, gender identity, social status and financial standings. Sex crimes are, unfortunately, committed in every stroke of life, but by making the issue about politics, we create further damage that prevents us from finding a solution.
The significance of the #MeToo movement is immeasurable and we are extremely lucky to be living in a time when women can use their collective voices to speak out against sexual assault, and further, when women are actually beginning to be heard. The #MeToo movement provides a stage for the sharing of personal experiences and thoughts regarding sexual assault. By having the ability to communicate matters so profound, people are empowered, provided with a better understanding of the prevalence of sexual assault and given reasons to believe that they are not alone in the trauma that they or a loved one has faced.
The movement and the ongoing conversation of sexual assault is an evident leap in the direction of justice. Too often though, this beautiful development for humankind is depleted by discarding this universal problem for humanity as merely a problem with politics.
There is an increasing sentiment about political parties in reference to sexual assault and harassment, which underscores the nonsensical idea that the Democratic party is the one that disavows sexual assault and respects women, while the Republican party condones sexual assault and disrespects women. Both of these notions are asinine and further rupture the issue at hand.
The political polarization of sexual assault was highlighted and popularized in the case of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual abuse allegations. Dr. Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser, did not want to publicize her accusations against Judge Kavanaugh. Instead, she wished to keep the matters private and anonymous, while engaging as little as possible with the issue. She wished to valiantly perform her civic duty, providing honest information about a Supreme Court nominee.
After months of correspondence with Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein who remained completely silent on the matter in hearings and to fellow Senators, Dr. Ford was conveniently called forth to testify shortly before Kavanaugh’s nomination into the Supreme Court. While Dr. Ford was outstandingly brave, poised, eloquent and clearly terrified, there were schemes behind the scenes that took the information she provided and utilized it for political gain. By prescribing one party as “good” and other party as “bad,” we create divisions that should instead be alliances in the fight against sexual assault.
Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike hold affiliates that are guilty of this disgusting behavior. By politicizing something as dire as this, we focus our attention and energy on politics rather than the individuals that have to live with the trauma that lingers from sexual assault.
Politics should have no authority over basic human decency. In order to achieve this, we must shift our gaze to perceive sexual assault as a problem that overlaps all parties, races and identities, instead of a problem that only one party can solve. It can only be resolved if we all continue to use our voices to speak out against sexual assault, the issue at hand, and to stop letting our vision be obscured by socially constructed party lines.