Christine Blasey Ford. Over the past few days, you've likely heard her name on the news and across social media platforms. You might know that she's a 51-year-old research psychologist and professor in California, and you've almost certainly heard her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when they were both in high school. He has categorically denied her allegations, which you also may have heard.
If you're paying attention, you'll realize a familiar narrative emerged this week, one that tends to create an invisible line between those who believe Blasey Ford's claims and those who attribute her coming forward as a partisan way to derail the confirmation of Donald Trump's second SCOTUS nominee. Immediately following Blasey Ford's decision to go public, however reluctant, doubts were raised about the veracity of the story and the motives behind it. Excuses were made about Kavanaugh's behavior—even if he did it, he was just 17. "Boys will be boys," they said. "I know how honest he is," one Senator Orrin Hatch said in defense.
In the week that the public has come to know her name, and the disturbing claims of sexual assault she unearthed, never once was Blasey Ford afforded the same benefit of the doubt. Not even now, in the age of #MeToo. In fact, a good amount of commentary about the woman who says Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her in 1982 (and placed his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream) is negative. Violent and threatening, even. This rhetoric isn't exclusive to those on the right who hope to seat another conservative justice. A quick look at Twitter reveals that many civilians are having a difficult time recognizing the credibility of her claim—yet somehow buy into Kavanaugh’s version of the story with ease. Essentially, the situation is a boiled-down version of what it means to be a woman: The burden lies on you to prove your worth and your truth.