Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation (bias)

Photo by Casey Gomez

CW: Kavanaugh, sexual assault. 

Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek answers that support one’s hypothesis and ignore all other evidence — a factor evident in Kavanaugh’s hearing and investigation. The FBI investigation on Kavanaugh seemed to have been conducted solely to give moderate Republican senators enough information to vote “yes” to Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the highest court of the land. 

The investigations were not conducted with the interest of Ford or with the interest of anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault in mind. 

Over forty people with potential information about Kavanaugh’s misconduct were not contacted by the FBI. Ford and Kavanaugh, the most important people in this investigation, were not interviewed either.  

It also seems like the senators voting “yes” did not realize the what the consequences of their decision are to both victims of sexual assault and the assaulters — an irresponsible and disappointing oversight. These senators acted as if the hearing was insignificant or simply did not want to take the time to understand the repercussions of the message they would be sending by voting “yes.” 

Furthermore, the fact the senators chose to overlook Kavanaugh’s temperament and his lies about his drinking demonstrates their lack of concern for his ability to act rationally as a judge. 

If the people who voted “yes” can so easily overlook crucial details in order to favor information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs, are they fit to be Senators? 

The worst part about all of this, in my opinion, is the message that is sent to victims of sexual assault. If there ever was any incentive for victims of sexual assault to come forward and speak their truth, there is less now. Confirming Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court leads survivors to believe that they have everything to lose. Ford and her family “have been the target of constant harassment and death threats,” according to Ford. She has been called vile and hateful names and she and her family have even been forced to move out of their home. 

The worst that could have happened to Kavanaugh is him maintaining his position as a federal judge — even if he was proven neither innocent nor guilty and was simply voted against being confirmed by the Senate. 

In Ford’s case,  post-hearing consequences are continued death threats, harassment to her and her family and mockery for coming forward. However, the effects of the hearing and confirmation are not just a message to Ford, but a message to every person who has been sexually assaulted. With the result of this hearing comes the thought that if someone is sexually assaulted and has summoned the courage to come forward, their voice ultimately does not matter. Ford represents all these victims. 

In addition, we have President Trump’s response. Trump gaslit victims, sympathized with assaulters and shamed the most vulnerable person in this debacle — the first to gather the strength to come forward because she believed it was her civic duty. 

By mocking the victim, women across the nation are given the message that their voice does not matter — that despite whatever they say, their words will not have an impact on their future and the future of society. 

Speaking on Kavanaugh’s hearing, Trump noted, “it’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of.” 

By encouraging the epidemic of false accusations of men in America, Trump is using a sly tactic to portray the ones in power as victims and the victims as the wrongdoers.  

This is the opposite of what we need to hear in this country right now and is incredibly harmful to the progress we are trying to make in women’s rights. 

In the hearing, Ford said the moment that she recalled most vividly from the night she was assaulted was when her assaulters laughed at her expense. Trump is known for his childish and insensitive remarks, but to choose to mock Ford following her recount of her traumatizing event is an all-time low. 

By appointing Kavanaugh to the highest court in the land, the Senate is sending a message to all women in America that their voice does not matter. 

Even if they risk it all to tell the truth, their words will have no impact, all because the Senators who voted “yes” refuse to internalize the repercussions of their actions and refuse to see beyond their big game of politics.