The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday January 19th

Column: Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, an American Patriot

We believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. 

Speaking up and telling your story requires a tremendous amount of courage. But to do so publicly, with the world as your audience, is more than just brave. It’s simply heroic. And today, Dr. Ford was a hero.

Admittedly terrified, yet remarkably poised, Dr. Ford sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee and told her story. She spoke of the moment in which she thought that Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his friend were going to rape her. The moment in which Judge Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth, and she feared he might inadvertently kill her. In which Kavanaugh and his friend laughed as she struggled.

Three decades later, the experience haunts her. It lingers, relentlessly, in her memory.

“Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter.”

During her testimony, Dr. Ford shared how her time at UNC as an undergraduate was tainted by the trauma of her sexual assault. It is incredibly upsetting to realize Dr. Ford was robbed of the undergraduate experience so many of us take for granted. To recognize that a place that has given many of us joy, opportunity and inspiration was a place of continued pain, isolation and misery for Dr. Ford. 

It is a bittersweet pill to swallow, and one that we encourage all UNC students and faculty to consider in full. As a community, we must confront the epidemic of sexual assault that plagues our campus. In one way or another, we have all played a role in creating a society that silences survivors and perpetuates victim blaming.

Our fellow Tar Heel, Dr. Ford, is brazenly fighting back against this toxic culture. We should be proud to call her one of us.

UNC is not alone. Society is rarely kind to those who are brave enough to speak out about sexual assault. Their claims are ignored, invalidated and impugned, and their experiences are challenged with blatant misogyny and disrespect. During Dr. Ford’s testimony, it was stunningly clear that a panel of 11 male Republican senators was almost entirely incapable of understanding a trauma that so many women experience.

It’s no wonder that so many women remain silent, fearing that they will be doubted or worse, derided for their honesty.

We owe them more than that. We owe them our respect, our solidarity and our understanding. They deserve to be heard. And in order for that to happen, we must start listening. 

We believe Christine Blasey Ford. We believe Deborah Ramirez. We believe Julie Swetnick. We believe survivors.

Kent McDonald

Editorial board member

Class of 2019

Paige Masten

Editorial board member

Class of 2021

Ramishah Maruf

Assistant opinion editor

Class of 2021

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