Kavanaugh Was a Republican Inevitability

[Content Note: Sexual assault; rape culture; misogyny.]

I have previously noted that the 2016 election was a referendum on how this nation values women. Donald Trump's presidency has subsequently become a series of horrendous reminders that the people running the joint don't value women at all, except as targets or apologists for their vast abuse.

The Kavanaugh nomination is another painful interlude, with a specific message about how female survivors are valued. Or not, as the case clearly is.

Brett Kavanaugh has now been publicly accused by multiple women of sexual assault, but the Republicans refuse to abandon him, because they're drawing a line in the sand. They won't be held accountable by a bunch of abused women and their allies.

We say #BelieveSurvivors, and they say: "Fuck no."

Besides, belief is altogether irrelevant to them, anyhow. Whatever they may say publicly to discredit Kavanaugh's accusers, they might well "believe" them — in private, as they strategize defenses, or deep in their heart of dark hearts. The more important issue, for them, is that even if Kavanaugh did the things of which he's accused, it doesn't matter.

That's what it means to use a Supreme Court nomination as another referendum on how we value women.

And, just like Donald Trump was not an anomaly but an inevitability of Republican politics, so, too, is Brett Kavanaugh.

As I have observed many, many times in this space over the last 14 years, the Republican Party does not have a solid history of taking sexual assault seriously, to put it mildly.

There was that time House Republicans tried to redefine rape so that it was only "real" rape if it involved force. Then there was the time that Senate Republicans blocked votes on military sexual assault legislation. There was that other time New York state Republicans blocked a proposal to eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. And let's not forget that time when Georgia state Republicans didn't want to consider a proposal on rape kits and accused the Democratic sponsor of "politicizing" the issue to get votes.

There was that time former GOP Senator and two-time presidential candidate Rick Santorum said that pregnant rape victims should make the best out of a bad situation. And that time former GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin argued that pregnancy from rape is really rare, because "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." And that time Akin also accused women of lying about rape. And that time GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said that getting pregnant from rape is god's plan. And all the times Republicans have told women how to avoid getting ourselves raped, as if it's our responsibility to stop rapists rather than predators' responsibility to not rape people.

There's Joe Walsh. And John Koster. And Phil Gingrey. And Thomas Corbin. And Jonathan Stickland. And Roy Moore. And Blake Farenthold. Just the tip of the iceberg of Republican politicians who have said stupid shit about sexual assault and/or been accused of sexual assault themselves.

And then there's the current Republican president, whose opening salvo in his campaign was to call undocumented Mexican immigrants rapists; who compared trade deficits to rape — twice; who is himself a confessed serial sex abuser; and whose Secretary of Education has rewritten campus assault guidlines to favor predators.

This is hardly a comprehensive list. The litany of examples of Republicans blocking legislation that would address sexual assault or support survivors, and of Republicans saying inappropriate things about rape and/or its victims, is interminable. And intolerable.

They want to win this battle, because it's the culmination of a protracted war, which they have been waging against survivors for a very long time.

Anyone who is surprised at their bloody-minded defense of an accused predator hasn't been paying attention.

But we should all be deeply appalled. And keep making lots of noise in unyielding protest.

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