Deny. Deflect. Impugn. The strategy that gave us Trump and Kavanaugh.

Updated: Oct 16, 2019

The best program I’ve seen on Netflix this year was Unbelievable. It was also the most disheartening—the story of a rape victim whom the police refuse to believe. Watch it if you can—once you begin you won’t be able to stop.


When you’re done, give a thought to Christine Blasey Ford, for there is very little difference between what happened to her and what happened to the Marie Adler character in Unbelievable. It’s more than the fact that their claims of rape were doubted, it’s the inability (or in Ford’s case the refusal) of men (and women too) to comprehend the mind of a rape victim.


In Unbelievable Adler’s story was filled with discrepancies as she tried to recount exactly what had happened while her mind tried simultaneously to block it out. Ford had for years suppressed the story and in that suppression lost more than one thread of the assault by Brett Kavanaugh. His detractors, legal and political, jumped all over the contradictions and in the end, impugned her and her story.


In truth I did not make that connection until today when I heard a Republican strategist on a podcast delineate just how the Republicans had first questioned, then doubted, and then completely denied the story of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault. It turns out that Ford’s mind worked just the way a rape victim’s mind should work—picking and choosing what memories make the day bearable and which hurt beyond all calculation.


Deny. Deflect. Impugn.


We have a sexual predator on the Supreme Court and another in the White House because of the success of that simple triad. And in case you haven’t noticed the string of witnesses who are refusing to appear before the House Committees these day, the same three magic words are still at work.


It will take patience and persistence by the House Committee to expose the process, and similar qualities to explain it to the American people. But the process is doable, and though it may not benefit Ms. Ford or Ms. Adler, it may keep other rapists off the streets...off the bench, and out of the Oval Office.

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