Tag Archives: sexual violence

On Hearing Christine Blasey Ford Speak the Whole Truth

Jane and Anita
Jane and Anita

So, it has taken me a while to come back to the blog, but sometimes life just compels you to rant. When I met the amazing and powerful Anita Hill a few years ago after her visit to Asheville sponsored by  “Our Voice” (www.ourvoicenc.org), the wonderful local organization that “serves all individuals in Buncombe County affected by sexual assault and abuse,”  I had a feeling that I could relax a little because things were getting better, that we were actually learning from the past and moving into a brighter future for women in this country

I no longer feel that way.  Especially not this week.  All I feel is sad and angry and frustrated and overwhelmed by the power of persistent white male privilege.  So, forgive me for ranting, but  here is my take on things.  And I really don’t care if it is a poem or not.  I just care that it says what I feel!

Christine and Anita

On Hearing Christine Blasey Ford

Where is the one-piece swimsuit

To shield her today

From his smirking, roaring

Privilege?

I went to Yale!

They promised!

Don’t you cross me, bitch!

 

She sits there,

facing the worst,

acknowledging her own losses,

even smiling at her legislators,

remaining proudly

who she is.

“I’m sorry.  What does exculpatory mean?”

She waits for them

to welcome her

into a civic process.

 

But the rules of this game

were set long before

She picked up the phone

To do the right thing.

For her country,

For these old white men

And sad white women

Who do not deserve her.

 

We do not deserve her.

 

The row of stone faces is immutable,

but inside they cringe

in the face of

one woman’s indivisible

truth;

they shrivel in

Inadequacy.

She wasn’t supposed to be this

believable.

She’s not playing the game.

Somebody get a hook!

 

They pretend to listen,

Until, bursting blood vessels

Of righteous indignation and fear,

They welcome him back

to the chair.

So much better.

So much safer here

Under the warmth of his anger,

His crocodile tears,

The world they know and love,

Brett’s world!

After all, they worked their buns off

(and some other people’s)

To get here!

They can’t let their sons down!

I like beer. We all like beer.

What’s the score?

How many beers?

How many Devil’s Triangles?

How big is your

gavel?

Am I really a Senator?

Wait a minute!

Did you pass out from drinking in college?

I don’t know.  Did you?

 

So, the whole lot of them,

The smug, confident, fading specters,

Decide

To refuse

to remember

that they have daughters.

And where are their wives?

Crying silently at home

Over sappy, romantic movies?

 

The entire reigning party–

Every last one of them,

Including a few scared plantation ladies,

Clutching for dear life to their own

Scratched-out crumbs of power,

Lacks the imagination

To weep for someone else’s daughter,

Or remember Anita Hill.

Not one of them

Has the living, breathing

guts

To move one step away

From this darkening world,

Where Trump is king,

And we have all tumbled

Down the rabbit hole.

 

How much courage would it take

To hear her?

How much

to say “This matters.”

Just one, maybe two people.

That’s all we need

To let a few million women,

Clinging by their fingernails

To the country

they used to believe in,

breathe out.

Instead of, once again,

The boot in the face,

The powerful punch in the gut:

“Frankly, Scarlett,

We don’t give a damn.”

 

 

 

 

Anita Hill: A Hero for All of Us

Jane
Jane

Anita Hill came to our town last week as the keynote speaker for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of “Our Voice”, our wonderful rape crisis/education/prevention center here in Asheville.

When I heard she was coming, I was immediately right back there on my sofa in Roxbury, New York, glued to the television set, watching every moment of those hearings.  I remembered how I felt completely inspired by her courage, her composure, her refusal to back down.  And I relived how completely horrified and despairing I felt when that panel of white men managed to find a way to approve Clarence Thomas anyway.  Along with millions of other women, I felt kicked in the gut.

Anita HillSo, I was excited to see her.  What I didn’t expect was how, once again, I would be completely inspired by this amazing woman.

Here is a woman whose life was turned upside down simply because she decided to come forward, to do the right thing, to speak the truth.  Here is a woman who believed in our system of justice and fairness, only to get kicked in the gut herself.  But here is a woman who also has never backed down and has managed to find a way to forgive all those people on the Judiciary Committee and to say, “it was not the failure of those individuals; it was the failure of the system.”  The committee, after all, decided not to call in experts to testify or to bring in the other women who were ready to corroborate her testimony.  But here is also a woman who, when asked if she would do it again, answers yes, without a doubt.  “I found my voice in 1991, and I am not about to give it up ever again,” she said.  She said that is what kept her going, what brought her back to life after the hearings, were the letters and phone calls from people all around the country who thanked her for giving them the courage, finally, to speak out, to bring sexual harassment or sexual violence against them out into the light of day–to confront their predator and to bring justice.

I have to say it brings me great pleasure to see how, in the big picture, she has come out on top.  She is a national icon, a hero for women everywhere.  While that other person, who will remain nameless, will always be associated in most people’s minds with sexual harassment and othe predatory behaviors. Continue reading Anita Hill: A Hero for All of Us