Kavanaugh Attempted to Demean, Humiliate, and Embarrass Women

This is one of those days when it’s hard for me to be a writer. Martin has already written about the latest allegations from Julie Swetnick about Brett Kavanaugh. After reading them myself, I felt like I’d been punched in the gut, and was speechless. What she reports seems credible, given that it was independently corroborated by what Elizabeth Rasor told reporters from the New Yorker. This is vile and disgusting behavior for any man—much less one that has been nominated to sit on the Supreme Court.

Even if Setnick’s sworn affidavit doesn’t allege that Kavanaugh participated in these gang rapes (she says that she saw him lined up and waiting his turn), she does report to have directly witnessed this:

I observed Brett Kavanaugh drink excessively at many of these house parties and engage in abusive and physically aggressive behavior toward girls, including pressing girls against him without their consent, “grinding” against girls, and attempting to remove or shift girls’ clothing to expose private body parts. I likewise observed him to be verbally abusive toward girls by making crude sexual comments to them that were designed to demean, humiliate and embarrass them. I often witnessed Brett Kavanaugh speak in a demeaning manner about girls in general and specific girls by name.

While none of that might rise to the level of a criminal offense, it speaks volumes about Kavanaugh’s attitude towards women. His behavior and words were designed to “demean, humiliate and embarrass them.” That is misogyny in its highest form, and it demonstrates why we’ve come to see sexual assault as a crime of power and violence rather than simply a sexual release.

I keep thinking that Kavanaugh will have to withdraw his name from consideration and/or Republicans will pull their support and give Christine Blasey Ford a break from further humiliation by calling off the hearing scheduled for Thursday. But then I remind myself that none of these Republicans has demonstrated a capacity for shame over the last few years, and my cynicism kicks back in.

As important as a seat on the Supreme Court is, this has gone beyond even that. This is a make-or-break moment for Republicans. After siding with a self-confessed groper as president, will their next move be to place someone on the Supreme Court who made it a point to demean, humiliate and embarrass women, not to mention sexually assault them? I’m literally sick to my stomach over that possibility.

P.S. As I was writing this, I was struggling to find the words. Here’s the best take so far:

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.