On what feels like a daily basis now, our federal government confronts We, The People, with some outrageous statement or behavior as troubling as it is baffling. The words and actions coming out of Washington D.C. are just incredible — as in not credible — as in not believable.
Out of disgust and fatigue, some people are simply tuning out from a shock-driven national news cycle to preserve their own psychological wellbeing. We get it, which is why we’ve been doing our best to keep The Argonaut focused on hyperlocal Westside news and culture.
But now that President Trump has cynically apologized “on behalf of our nation” for daring to confront rage-filled Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh about his beer-soaked past and a very believable allegation of sexual assault against him, it’s time for a reality check.
Sexual assault is epidemic in our culture. Women have always known this; most men are only starting to grapple with it. For many of those who have experienced sexual assault, watching the executive and legislative branches of our government disregard the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford has been a waking nightmare. It’s been traumatic not just because Ford put her privacy, reputation and personal safety at stake and wasn’t believed, but because whether most senators believed her didn’t seem to matter. They just didn’t care. Not about Ford. Not about sexual assault. Not about women.
For us, turning sexual assault into a tribalistic political contest where might makes right is inherently unacceptable. Kavanaugh may now be on the bench, but the public conversation surrounding sexual assault — not just the act itself, but the legal and emotional and social ramifications faced by those seeking justice — should not end so quickly.
Despite our national obsession with Trump, the maxim remains that all politics is local. That means the only way to change the conversation in Washington is to address sexual assault as a local issue. To do our part, we’ll need your help.
If you have experienced sexual assault, we want to hear your story. Whether names are made public or kept anonymous, these stories need to be shared with the community at large to improve public understanding of the issue, change heart and minds, and start developing solutions on a grassroots level, because we certainly can’t count on the White House or Congress or now even the Supreme Court.
Please reach out to Managing Editor Joe Piasecki and Arts & Events Editor Christina Campodonico via MeToo@ArgonautNews.com to tell your stories or let us know how to get in touch with you about them.
In the coming weeks, we’ll share what we’ve learned about the realities of sexual assault in our community — not for some political advantage, but to spark conversations that we believe can make a difference.