We must move beyond solely focusing on legal and policy solutions to rape culture. We must link these calls for reform with solutions for survivors that aren’t dependent upon carceral feminism.
Last Friday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate for a final vote on his confirmation for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Although a limited FBI investigation will take place this week before the final vote, Kavanaugh’s nomination shouldn’t be moving forward at all.
The courageous testimony of Christine Blasey Ford in front of millions about the painful details of her assault, the bold resistance from survivors across the country, and Kavanaugh’s problematic demeanor should have been enough to disqualify Kavanaugh for this position. By advancing his nomination, Republicans have sent a reminder to many that America is built upon a culture of impunity for white men who believe they are entitled to positions of power even when they may be guilty of committing harm against others. This impunity isn’t new; it’s rooted in a long legacy of white supremacist violence that includes sexual violence as a central tool of oppression, particularly against Black, brown, and indigenous communities on a global scale.
At this moment, thousands of survivors are speaking their truths to demand accountability and justice. The only reason why there is any attention to this nomination is because of this painful and unprecedented resistance from survivors. Inspired by this resistance, Dalit and Muslim women from Equality Labs and Justice for Muslims Collective have taken a stand to support Christine Blasey Ford and connect calls for justice to a culture of impunity that is foundational to U.S. legal institutions and to the nation itself.
As long as we don’t collectively reckon with this foundational violence, we will fail to envision justice beyond constantly begging white men in power who refuse to hear our demands. As we demand our rights from white-led state institutions, we must acknowledge the pain of what it means to go to our oppressors and beg for equity with our wounds and stories in tow. If our current battle makes Republicans take a quick stand of conscience, as it did for Sen. Jeff Flake who called for an investigation into the allegations against President Trump’s nominee, it doesn’t absolve them from the systems and policies they continue to uphold.