Trigger warning for descriptions of sexual assault.
Christine Blasey Ford is a psychologist and professor of statistics who says that when she was 15, she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was 17 at the time. In response to the allegations, Kavanaugh has stated, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.” Three `15-year-old girls, Layla, Charlotte, and Jessica, have penned an open letter of support to Christine Blasey Ford on Change.org.
According to The Washington Post, Kavanaugh "corralled [Ford] into a bedroom...pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth." Though Kavanaugh denies the assault, Ford has backed up her allegations by her therapist's notes, and she passed a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, many survivors have been coming forward to tell their stories, and the opinion of many is that such allegations should disqualify a person up for any job, let alone an appointment of Supreme Court Justice.
"Fifteen-year-old girls will not be safe if Brett Kavanaugh is in power," Layla tells Allure in an email. "We hope they see this still impacts women, no matter how far in the past it's been. The pain and trauma doesn't just go away. You don't just click a switch and it goes away. It takes a process of taking accountability and healing," Charlotte says.
To many who have been following the Trump administration and the endless accusations of sexual assault against everyone from President Trump himself to those he appoints to positions of power, the decision of many to back Kavanaugh despite such allegations isn't surprising. Many commentators have written off the possible encounter as teenage shenanigans. Education professor Jonathan Zimmerman wrote in an op-ed in USA Today that “Of course [Kavanaugh] was different then; he was a third of the age he is now. And teens do stupid, dangerous and destructive things.”
However, others across the country, including these brave 15-year-old girls, have banded together to back Ford and do everything they can to block Kavanaugh's appointment, and call bullshit on such a defense. "We want to end the stigma that adults are smarter than young people. Our letter was successful because we are 15. Don't just dismiss people because of their age," Charlotte tells Allure. Jessica adds, "We hope boys read this letter and learn from it. We want boys to have these conversations with their fathers, friends and with girls."
Layla, Charlotte, and Jessica's decision to go public with such strength isn't the first time Generation Z has proven they won't be silenced politically because of their age. High school activists such as Emma González are the leading faces and figures in the fight against gun violence, and such strength gives our country hope for the future in what many are experiencing as a time of great pain. "The strength came from Christine and it transferred from her to us," Charlotte wrote Allure. "We can be that voice that Christine didn't have at fifteen and the voice for all the girls and women who want to speak their truth and tell their story," adds Jessica.
The Washington Post reports that Ford has offered to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. If you'd like to add your voice to Layla, Charlotte, and Jessica's, you can sign the petition. You can also read their letter in its entirety on Change.org.
Read more stories about your access to reproductive health care:
- How Congresswoman Lois Frankel Is Fighting Sexual Harassment in the Service Industry
- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Shares Her Own #MeToo Story of Sexual Harassment
- Young Gun-Reform Activists Featured on Teen Vogue Digital Cover: "You’re Killing Us"
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