COLUMN: Allegations against Brett Kavanaugh touch on much larger issues

The situation with Brett Kavanaugh changes so often that CNN has a live-feed dedicated to documenting the most recent information. With the vote happening Friday, allegations of sexual assault against the Supreme Court candidate are at the forefront of the conversation.

In response to these accusations, CNN interviewed Republican women in Florida about their take on the situation. These women essentially said Kavanaugh may have done what he is accused of, but it does not matter. 

“Tell me what boy hasn’t done this in high school," one woman even goes as far as to say.

The issue with statements such as these is much deeper than whether or not Kavanaugh is guilty. The issue is that even if he did commit these acts of sexual assault, many are willing to just forget about it. We cannot dismiss a woman’s experiences, and we certainly cannot allow society to think that “boys” committing sexual assault is excusable and even normal and acceptable.

People may say that the accuser must be lying about being sexually assaulted because they were drunk. Next, they will say that the assailant is completely innocent because he or she were drunk. This double standard protects assailants if they are drunk and places blame on the person being assaulted if they are.

There is this idea that men cannot control themselves, so, if they sexually assault someone, it must be the other person’s fault. The person who was assaulted must have been dressed promiscuously or must look older than her age. 

If the assaulter is actually found guilty, he can evade punishment just because the judge thinks he has a bright future, like Brock Turner. Those who make the rules of our society consistently view sexual assault as less serious than it is, and those who commit it are able to easily forget about it, while those who were assaulted have to walk the long road to recovery.

Sexual assault, despite what many may think, is not normal male behavior. Spreading the belief that it is normal, however, can make that come to fruition. Young, impressionable children will hear that it is normal for men to inappropriately touch women, and both boys and girls will absorb this belief. Girls will think that it is normal to be assaulted, and boys will think that their actions do not have consequences.

Whether you believe Kavanaugh or you believe his accusers, the conversation behind this situation must change. People should take the accusations seriously and not just ignore them because they do not think they matter even if they are true. If Kavanaugh is guilty, he must be held accountable because this is not normal male behavior. It is the behavior of a predator. It is a crime and must be punished. 

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