Never in my life have I been as disappointed in American politics as I am right now. As voters, we elected officials who we believed would protect our rights, and they have done exactly the opposite. Trump, you’ve officially outdone yourself by nominating an alleged rapist for a position on the Supreme Court, the most powerful position in the American Judicial system. Should someone who has lied under oath and has multiple accusations of sexual assault be deciding the fate of the most important court cases in the nation? Probably not.

What does this say to the victims of sexual assault, both young and old, men and women, about coming forward with their experiences? It says that no matter who they are or what they are willing to sacrifice to share their story, their voices will be ignored. Better yet, what does this say to sexual assaulters about their ability to get away with doing whatever they please? For every thousand rapes in America, 994 assaultants walk free, and for the very few who are prosecuted and charged, such as Brock Turner, the consequences are light. After raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster and leaving her there to freeze in the middle of January, Brock turner served THREE MONTHS in jail and then walked free. Is this really enough deterrence to stop others from doing the same?

As someone who has watched loves ones experience the mental and physical pain of sexual assault, following Kavanaugh throughout the nomination process has been one of the worst parts of my time at JMU. Over the summer, a sexual assault case was brought to the administration here at James Madison University, and despite the extraordinary efforts of the young woman, the boy walked free and was able to keep his position as Orientation Peer Advisor, where he works with incoming freshman to help them adjust to their new life.

Nominating a rapist for the supreme court speaks volumes about our society as a whole. It speaks to the sexual assault victims that their stories will not be listened to, and it speaks to the sexual assaulters that their actions will go unpunished. Dr. Ford represents the millions of americans who have now been deemed voiceless, an unbelievably scary reality.

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