Claudia Ellquist is a member of the National Women’s Caucus of the Green Party of the United States, represents the Arizona Green Party as a delegate to the National Committee and serves as the First Vice Chair of the Arizona Green Party. Ellquist ran for Pima County Attorney in 2004, receiving 23,028 votes for 7.64 per cent of the total vote. Her campaign focused mainly on a four-year moratorium on the death penalty. The following article is condensed from an essay Ellquist wrote just after the Brett Kavenaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearing and published on the Green Party of the United States' website.
The National Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States thanks Professor Christine Blasey Ford for coming forward to offer her testimony over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the US Supreme Court. Her testimony clearly demonstrated Judge Kavanaugh should not have been confirmed to this position. The committee and Senate vote showed that the #MeToo movement has not been as effective as many women hoped and that denial of harm and victim shaming still exist.
The men on the judiciary panel and then Senate Republicans allowed a statute of limitations concept to move from immunity against criminal prosecution to also include any future consequence. In this instance, they granted the accused a free ride to a lifetime position of extraordinary power, including overseeing from the bench both criminal and civil cases that would involve these very issues.
The National Women’s Caucus’s first task is to publicly take note of that underlying assumption, and call it out. A statute of limitations is intended only to encourage early reporting and successful prosecution – not to give a lifetime entry pass to the chambers of power.
Committee members made themselves situationally deaf. They ignored criminal investigation agencies’ statistics that fewer than three per cent of accusers are later found to have lied. These Senators cited instances of such lies because such lying is so rare, so uncharacteristic of what happens, that it is headline worthy. They can rattle off three instances of lying in the past decade, but would struggle to name three instances where the accuser was clearly vindicated. The obvious became invisible to them.
Our second task, then, is to point out that these men, whose usual choice is to disbelieve an accused, are now doing so in the face of their own practice and trusted sources. They suddenly want to trust anecdote, personal likeability and gut reaction. This inconsistency, in a matter where women are overwhelmingly the accuser and males the accused, is difficult to explain by any name but misogyny.
The committee and Senate Republicans treated Professor Blasey Ford as an anecdotal instance, as one of the three per cent who have lied. But does the Professor fall into that category? She was 15 and it was a long time ago. Why does she remember some particular things, and not others?
She recalls what she was wearing while it happened – she had a one-piece swimsuit on under her outer clothing. Any survivor of sexual assault will instantly recall what protected them or didn't. She remembers the one-piece swim suit because, in his drunken state, he could not get it off of her. That swimsuit prevented her from being a rape victim, and She. Will. Never. Ever. Forget. It.
It is exactly what a victim of attempted assault would remember. How can that not be obvious and visible to anyone who thinks about what they are hearing, and really does want to hear the truth?
Yes, he's guilty. The only real question left is why we don't want to believe it? The National Women's Caucus demands that this issue be faced.
Men do not want to believe it (nor, for that matter, do women) because it paints such a frightening picture of who we are as a society. We have heard comments about "Who would be left standing?" if a drunken youthful incident of attempted rape were to be held against any male. Rape is so unthinkable to some that they want to believe that it is rare. It is so thinkable to others that they believe everyone, if they can, does it. It is so without consequence, for the accused, that they cannot conceive that the accuser was actually harmed.
Or the ‘ruin-his-life’ response. Does anyone out there believe that our society has now changed in such a way that today's 15-year-old accuser would not be instructed to calm down, rather than ‘ruin his [young] life’? At what point is he old enough that she is allowed to ‘ruin’ it?
Mr. Kavanaugh's career needed to be sidetracked so that he can get the help he needs. Instead, he will rule on important issues regarding women’s lives. Abortion, women’s rights and many other issues will be judged by a man who has mistreated a woman and gotten away with it. Unfortunately, he will continue to do that and get away with it.