The Kavanaugh Verdict
Many Hearts Walking Together
©Lisa C. Farrell
I managed to get shingles last week. I was somewhat insulted by that. Aren’t shingles something that “old” people get? At least when my grandmother got shingles she was pretty old. As I recall, it was pretty painful for her too. But my shingles arrived at a different location (my face) and a different level (relatively mild). Still, what on earth could cause the chicken pox virus to rise up and strike me now?
The answer came from the Urgent Care doctor. “How’s your stress level?” she asked me. And then I knew. The Brett Kavanaugh hearings had done me in. Like many other survivors of sexual trauma I have spoken to, I found the whole event traumatic. I had to actually stop watching television. I listened to Dr. Ford, and I recognized myself. I saw those in power ignore or belittle her experience, and I recognized my life. To be counted powerless and to be publicly ridiculed—that is what happens to women. The fact that it is happening in MY country, a country that’s supposed to know better, appalls me. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, publicly ridiculed Dr. Ford as he has ridiculed so many others, and reveled in his power to do so.
All of this is very hard to take. I have fought long and hard to reclaim my freedom and dignity, and to see myself as God sees me. I have consciously reevaluated and faced head on the lies told by those who oppress those who cannot fight back. The ground is still not even. As a young woman in the 70s I naively believed that it wouldn’t be long before women would be fully respected as equals, but we still have a long way to go.
As for Brett Kavanaugh, perhaps if he had been more willing to acknowledge the role of alcohol in his life, and the reality of his blackout drinking, I may have had more compassion. I’m a person in recovery. I have 42 years of sobriety. I have known a lot of people who are blackout drinkers. I met a man in Scotland who murdered his wife in a blackout. He woke up in the morning to find her lying by his side in bed strangled. The evidence was clear. He couldn’t remember any of it, but he still went to prison. Perhaps if Brett Kavanaugh had taken some responsibility, any responsibility at all . . .
What does help me is knowing that God is on the side of the victim and the oppressed. Ultimately, God will vindicate all who have been lied to, told it was their fault, intimidated into silence, terrified and shamed. If priests who committed atrocities for generations can now be called to account, maybe there is hope. And when I need to rant about all of this to God I remember the words of Psalm 10.
1 Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. 3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. 4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. 5 His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies. 6 He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
7 His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. 8 He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret for his victims; 9 like a lion in cover he lies in wait. He lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. 10 His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. 11 He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.”
12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. 13 Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? 14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out.
16 The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. 17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.