My apologies; I have been unable to write much of anything in a month. In the past two years, Canadians have been pulled into the reality-TV vortex of the drama south of our border like never before. The Blasey-Ford/ Kavanaugh debacle has reduced me to a despondency and a hopelessness I cannot even begin to adequately describe. So many of us have 36-year old stories to tell: and 10-year old stories; and 50-year old stories. We are legion. And like the good, meek voiceless women our abusers wanted us to be, we have kept our collective mouths shut. When women like Dr. Ford come forward, they give hope to the multitudes of hurting, silent victims who have stayed quiet for decades. And when rich, entitled white men viciously beat them back down to their proper ‘place’, they also beat down every one of us who were once victimized. All over again… You never forget what happened to you and you never ‘get over it’. You just figure out a way to live with it.
I do believe a person should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. I do believe that a man found guilty of a vile act should be held accountable, even if it happened decades ago. I do believe that some women (and yes, even some teenage girls) are the lowest and most vile excuses for a human being when they falsely accuse a good man of something he did not do.
But I was inclined to believe Dr. Ford.
And I did not believe Kavanaugh. Not one word.
I have reached the conclusion that I am not going to get past this until I write about it, so here it is. I have been having conversations like this with other women since I was twelve years old. I am sorry; this is not my best work… I just needed to get the poison out.
“Oh, yes, you’re welcome to sit beside me. I’ve never seen the train this crowded. I think this is the last seat left.
What’s that? It’s your first trip on a train? Oh, you’ll see: it’s a wonderful way to travel. You get to see so much scenery this way and you don’t have to deal with traffic jams or construction detours.
Oh, I’m glad you feel like talking! What a kind face you have! It’s rare to have a train conversation with a person your age. People are so closed off and cautious these days. I hardly ever get to carry on a conversation with a stranger anymore.
My goodness, yes, really, when I was younger, I used to do this all the time. I guess it’s unheard of for your generation.
Yes, it does help that we’re both women. You have to be so cautious around men these days or they get the wrong idea. Now, with my wrinkles and grey hair, that sort of thing isn’t really an issue for me anymore but I do remember how it was.
Did I ever run into trouble? Oh, yes. Quite a number of times, actually. I don’t talk about it much; there’s no point and it always ends up being the woman’s fault: something she did; or didn’t do or should have done. Something she was wearing. Or should have been wearing. Some place she shouldn’t have been walking. That sort of thing. Did I ever tell anyone? Report them for what they did to me? Well, no. There wasn’t much point in that. Back in my day, I would have been told that ‘boys will be boys’. And the authorities would have asked me what I did, or said, or wore that ‘made him do what he did’; if I drank too much. That’s how it used to be.
You say it’s still like that today? Oh, I guess I know, dear. I don’t worry about myself too much anymore but I do worry about my daughter, my granddaughter, my friends’ daughters and granddaughters.
Oh, sweetie, it’s okay. You go right ahead and cry.
Do you have any proof? Any witnesses? Oh, honey, I’m sorry to say there isn’t much point coming forward. Men can be pretty vicious with women who report these types of things and they all stick together. Really ruins their careers and their reputations, you know, so it makes them pretty testy. That doesn’t sit too well with their wives, either. Men are pretty much impossible to fight because, well, they hold all the cards now.
Yes, I guess you’re right. The onus has always been on the woman to keep herself out of harm’s way. And her reputation is always in tatters if she is foolish enough to come forward and speak out.
I do miss the days when fathers and brothers watched out for the women in their lives; when girls didn’t falsely accuse a man and put in question every woman from that point forward who was telling the truth.
Yes I guess you’re right. That’s just how I like to remember how things were.
Nothing has changed, really, has it?
No, sweetie, and I’m afraid nothing ever will.
Here’s a tissue. You just go ahead and cry it all out. You will learn to live with this, honey.
And the best part? Why, one day, he’ll be dead.”
Patti Moore Wilson © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com