16 October 2018
Zachary J. Engelman
Movements like “me too” have sparked conversations about rape and its consequences. Documentaries have been released exposing the cover ups and scandals surrounding sexual assault in college fraternities.
An outside observer might think that all of this is indicative of a cultural movement toward the rejection of people who rape. But, clouded in this explosion of apparent progress is a sickness. A portion of the United States citizens seem to display a different attitude toward sex crimes.
In 2016, when President Donald Trump was in the middle of a presidential campaign, an audio clip was leaked. “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” Trump said in a conversation with the, at that time, current host of the show, Billy Bush. “Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
After the tape was leaked, political experts spelled out Trump’s doom. They said the tape would end his chances at beating Hillary Clinton. But they were wrong. His supporters decided they had no problem voting for a man who had been recorded confessing to sexual assault. They declared in one loud voice: We don’t care about rape.
It happened again in 2017. Roy Moore, an accused pedophile, ran for Senate in Alabama. Despite multiple sources confirming multiple accounts of his pediphilic relationships resulting in rape, Moore secured 48.4 percent of the vote according to The New York Times. Once again, a sizable portion of the voters declared that they also do not care about rape.
Now we face 2018. We have, yet another situation where a man is about to receive a position of power and is being accused of sexual crimes. Brett Kavanaugh was nominated by Trump in July to fill a vacancy left when Anthony Kennedy retired. In a recent hearing, Anita Hill accused Kavanaugh of drunkenly pinning her down and raping her with his hand over her mouth so she couldn’t scream.
Her reluctant testimony was widely believed by experts to be an authentic recounting of a traumatizing experience and was backed up by a passed polygraph test, and a host of witnesses.
Then Kavanaugh was called to the stand. He proceeded to rant about his love for beer and his nostalgic experience with friends in high school. He went on to show off many other factors that should make people question his ability to be a supreme court justice. He mischaracterized evidence. He cried when regaling memories involving working out with friends. He forcefully demanded that his questioner divulge information about her drinking history.
Despite all this, Republican senators still managed to secure enough votes to confirm his nomination due partly to a rule instituted by the democrat majority in 2013 that allowed supreme court nominees to be confirmed only by a simple majority.
Before this hearing some people feared that republicans wouldn’t believe these claims of sexual assault. But now it has become clear that, yes, they do believe she was raped by this man; they just don’t care.
In the aftermath of this hearing Trump has been publicly shaming the victim of these crimes and has even mocked her at a rally in Virginia. He was met with cheers and laughter.
It seems that it is not a fact that all Americans are rejecting people who rape. Some people are clearly embracing them.