I was on vacation in Budapest when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. When I woke up that morning, I saw her statement posted on the NPR website. I immediately said to my friend that her story is credible because she displayed the classic symptoms I have seen in all my clients in the past 20 years. That afternoon, we made it back to the hotel room to use the wifi to watch her testimony online.
There are many trauma specialists have pointed out the significance of her testimony in many different ways. Dr. Ford empowered many women who have not yet talked about their sexual trauma in the past. Sadly, many discussions online argued about whether her story was accurate and credible or not. In this article, I wanted to use her statement to point out the symptoms the sexual trauma survivors have experienced and to discuss the arguments of “lies” in the sexual trauma that often added another layer of the wound on the adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Let’s take care of this issue called “lie” first. Everyone lies here and there in life. No matter what’s the reason we lie, the bottom line is: we lie to get out of trouble or to protect someone. Children lie about eating candies before dinner because they know “mommy is going to be upset if she knows I ate a piece of candy.” There is a term called “white lie” in English. Usually, when we tell a “white lie,” the main reason is to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. And, in many cases, I have seen victims recant their original stories to protect someone, such as family members.
However, neither one of the reason (get out of the trouble or to protect someone) is Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s reason. Knowing that she would receive attacks and threats, and she would bring the crisis to herself (“re-living the trauma”) and her work (reporters and publicity to her workplace), and her family (threats to her families and relocate her families), she chose to tell the truth because she believes it is her civic duty to do so. So, if she lies, what’s her gain for lying? She gained only trouble and protected no one (other than the public).
I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.
Apart from the assault itself, these last couple of weeks have been the hardest of my life. I have had to relive my trauma in front of the entire world, and have seen my life picked apart by people on television, in the media, and in this body which have never met me or spoken with me. I have been accused of acting out of partisan political motives. Those who say that do not know me. I am a fiercely independent person and I am no one’s pawn. My motivation in coming forward was to provide the facts about how Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions have damaged my life, so that you can take that into serious consideration as you make your decision about how to proceed. It is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr. Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court. My responsibility is to tell the truth.
(To be continued. This entry is long and can be very triggering. It takes me a few tries to finally finish it because this is one of the tougest myths in the sexual assault topic. This news is also one of the toughest ones to endure for me.)
Resources: RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline.
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to get routed to your local sexual assault service provider.