It’s been a baffling, impossible, horrifying week in a baffling, impossible, horrifying year; we’re all exhausted and you likely are too. The unending public discourse around assault, the pain of survivors, and what counts as ‘bad enough’ for someone to experience consequences for their actions has been harrowing to experience, to put it mildly. So many of us are survivors of one kind or another; those of us who don’t identify as such still live with the knowledge that that is a precarious state that could change at any time, and that this culture of backlash and gaslighting is what would await you. Even though we knew this was true, generally speaking, it doesn’t make it easier to see. The news today that the vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation will be delayed means that the potential of his confirmation is technically still up in the air, but also that this public conversation will be dragged on in a particular way, which to many of us feels unbearable right now.
There has never been any way to reassure that the American justice system will function in a way that provides relief to victims of harm, or accountability to perpetrators of harm. What we can affirm is the grace and power of survivors like Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford, and all survivors whose abusers will always have more institutional power and social capital than them. We can honor the complicated and difficult choice to articulate truth about harm even when we know we won’t get the support or justice that we deserve, and take care of ourselves and the ones we love by being intentional about how we do or don’t engage with it.
Most importantly, when we don’t have any guarantee of justice, we can at least lean on community — surround ourselves with those who see and understand who we are and what we’ve experienced, whether that looks like processing it or just sitting on a sofa together with some chocolate milk. When we have nothing else, we still have each other. Some of us are lucky enough to have that community in person; if you don’t (or also if you do!), you have this community and this post. Hang out here for a minute, say something if you feel like it or just read and listen if you don’t, and be gentle with each other, it’s hard out there lately.
The Trans Lifeline (US: 877-565-8860/Canada: 877-330-6366)