**TW: assault, abuse**
“I have friends who are women.”
It felt like Brett Kavanaugh repeated this over and over throughout his hearing. This statement is the patriarchal equivalent of “I have black friends” – a phrase often used by white people to prove that their actions couldn’t possibly be racist because they know a black person. Knowing black people does not mean you don’t say and do racist things. And knowing women does not mean you aren’t a part of the patriarchy. In fact, it’s entirely irrelevant. Not everyone has black friends (though that blows my mind because it’s 2018). But, everyone knows women. Everyone has a mother. By nature of existing you have come into being through the body of a woman. Yet, there are rapists, misogynists, and abusers everywhere. Knowing women means nothing. The recently arrested East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer was living with his daughter when he was arrested. Bill Cosby has a wife and daughters. Brett Kavanaugh has a wife and daughters. This does not exempt them from being perpetrators.
What’s more, being a “nice guy” does not mean you have never assaulted anyone. Bill Cosby was the apple of America’s eye for decades. He was viewed as a wholesome, all-American, family man. But it turns out, there was a lot of abuse happening under that facade. Throughout Kavanaugh’s hearing, he pointed to letters and statements from friends that stated he was a good person, a nice guy, a good friend. These things are not mutually exclusive to sexual assault. I know because my own story feels eerily similar.
The person who assaulted me is a “nice guy”. He cares about social justice and even claims to be a feminist. No one who knows him would point to him as being a violent or mean person. I’m sure he could get 65 people to sign a letter stating the he’s a good person, just like Kavanaugh. I myself was blinded by his good-guy persona, so much so that I continued to see him for several months after my assault because I didn’t realize what had happened to me. It seemed impossible that a guy like him could do the very thing that he spoke out against. He went to the women’s march. He fights for the marginalized. How could he have possibly done something so against what he claims to be his moral code?
I dont’ know the answer to that question, but I do that Dr. Ford’s story feels all to familiar. If I were in her position, I’m sure people would be saying things about my perpetrator that are similar to the things being said by the committee and others about Kavanaugh. He has a mother. He has a wife. He has a sister. He has a daughter. Witnesses claim they have never seen him act like this before. The reality is that these things don’t matter because they don’t prevent assault. Having women friends that you talked to on the phone in high school and never assaulted does not mean that you never assaulted anyone else. No one assaults every woman in their life. Just because there are women who have not seen this side of him does not mean that side doesn’t exist. Nice guys can be rapists too.