The apparent mocking of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by United States President Donald Trump has sparked wide spread outrage and real fear that it will be even harder for survivors of these heinous deeds to come forward.
“I had one beer. Well, do you think it was — nope, it was one beer,” Trump said, mimicking Ford’s testimony. “How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know.”
These comments were made during a rally in Southaven, Mississippi Tuesday night by the President and unsurprisingly have many advocates for victims of sexual assault positively livid.
Ian Henderson, Director of Legal and System Services at the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA) is worried that the President’s remarks will not only discourage victims from coming forward about assault, but also that if they do they might not be believed.
“It creates a disincentive for survivors to come forward,” said Henderson. “There are already enough reasons why victims don’t come forward because of fear of not being believed. But on the flip side, we’ve seen a lot of positive movement on social media like #IBelieveSurvivors and #WhyIDidntReport.”
The White House has come to the defense of the President, saying that it was not mocking Dr. Ford; instead he was simply stating facts.
“The President simply pointed out the facts of the matter and that is what the Senate will have to use to determine whether or not they vote to support him or not,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday.
The President also reacted to the public’s outcry from the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh and expressed his concern of how this would impact other men.
“It is a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of,” Trump said. “This is a very, very — this is a very difficult time. What’s happening here has much more to do than even the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice!”
Actress, activist and sexual assault survivor Alyssa Milano, who continues to be very public in her support of Dr. Ford, reacted to Trump’s comments, saying that it was in fact a ‘scary time for women’.
“Men are having a hard time right now? I mean, c’mon,” Milano said. “Women, young people, have had it difficult for generations and generations and generations.”
In an interview with MSNBC, where she spoke of the backlash against victims who spoke up about their abuse, she said that right now they were in the process of finally defining their boundaries, and would no longer be silenced.
“And if that means men have a hard time right now, then I’m sorry, this is the way the pendulum has to shift for us to have the equality and security in our country.” She said.
Henderson, also took issue with Trumps’ comments, saying that they completely discount men and boys of sexual violence and lumped men into the ‘category of potential perpetrators or at least complicit in rape culture’.