Christine Blasey Ford & Cultural Amnesia: Women didn’t report date rape in 1982

This morning, Donald Trump tweeted, “if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.”

The truth, though, is that it would have been incredibly unusual for Christine Blasey Ford (or anyone on her behalf) to file charges or report her alleged attack. Right now, only about 310 out of 1000 rapes are reported. That’s today, from numbers taken in 2015.

In 1982 — when Dr. Blasey Ford says that Brett Kavanaugh attacked her — it would have been nearly unheard of to report an attempted rape by anyone other than a stranger. Some things to keep in mind about 1982:

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  • It would be nearly a decade before ‘date rape’ became part of the national consciousness. One of the most famous cultural markers is this TIME magazine cover, which ran in 1992. Before then (and even after!) rape and sexual assault was considered a crime committed by strangers — not classmates, acquaintances, or loved ones.

And so the idea that that Dr. Blasey Ford — or any young woman — would have reported a sexual attack, especially an attempted rape as opposed to rape, is completely out of touch with the reality of the time.

If we’re going to have a serious conversation about sexual assault and Kavanaugh, we need to stop the widespread (deliberate) cultural amnesia displayed by Republicans.

Written by

Feminist author & columnist. Native NYer, pasta enthusiast.

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