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OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Kavanaugh Confirmation and Campus Sexual Assault

Kavanaugh+Confirmation+and+Campus+Sexual+Assault

On Saturday, Oct. 6, Brett Kavanaugh was sent to the Supreme Court by a 50-48 vote from the Senate. The endorsement of a lifetime seat on the court for Kavanaugh ushers in a conservative majority and delivers a huge victory to President Donald Trump after a vicious confirmation battle. Protests in the weeks following the nomination and leading up to his confirmation underscored the vital importance of an appointment that could have serious consequences for some of the nation’s most contested disputes over issues like abortion, LGBT rights, the scope of presidential power and the role of religion in society. 

 

The confirmation process was bitterly partisan, and disputes were intensified by allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh that began surfacing in Sept. In response to the allegations, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when they were in high school. Kavanaugh denied the allegation, while she stood by her testimony. The committee paused the nomination process for a week so the FBI could investigate. Afterward, Republicans declared that the FBI had not found any corroborating witnesses, while Democrats complained the FBI didn’t look hard or long enough.  

 

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Christine Blasey Ford was not the only woman who came forward against Brett Kavanaugh. Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick went public with their own stories as well. The decision these women made to come forward with sexual assault accusations against Kavanaugh, as inspiring as it may have been to many across the country, did not ultimately prevent his confirmation. The consequences of this will be undoubtedly immense. Many key Supreme Court precedents hang in the balance, as does the Court’s legitimacy after this intensely controversial process.  

 

Taking sexual violence seriously is the moral issue of our generation, and what has unfolded over the process of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is the messy, complicated and necessary work required to meet this need. Many Americans are concerned that the apathy demonstrated by the committee concerning the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh did nothing to discourage young men in our country from engaging in sexual violence, and that it discouraged victims from reaching out for help. 

 

This nomination comes at a time when sexual assault is recognized as a pervasive issue on college campuses all across the nation. RAINN, the largest non-profit anti-sexual assault organization in the United States, reports that college women are four times more likely than men in general to experience sexual violence. While it is much more statistically likely for women to be victims of sexual assault, 1 out of every 10 rape victims is male. Among undergraduate students across the country, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation. Wofford College is no exception.  

 

In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1990, students receive Timely Warning emails from Campus Safety in an effort to make the Wofford College community aware of situations that present a potential threat to the safety and well-being of our community members. In November of 2017, a Timely Warning was issued reporting an incident at the Greek Village where the subject was alleged to have forcibly fondled another student without consent. In March 2018, another was issued that reported a female Wofford student was sexually assaulted by a male Wofford student during January 2018 in Shipp Hall after an on-campus party. In Sept. 2018, another was issued to inform students that the college had received a report that several female students may have been intentionally drugged by a student during an event at the Greek Village.  

 

In the spring of 2018, a survey was conducted in conjunction with an event sponsored by Kappa Alpha Psi and class of 2021 student Margaret Roach analyzing the culture of sexual misconduct on Wofford’s campus. 73.27% of students who responded to the survey stated that they felt Wofford does have a problem of sexual misconduct on campus, with residence halls and the Greek Village being the top two locations for sexual misconduct to take place. The on-campus sexual assault culture is important to talk about, now more than ever. While Timely Warnings serve to inform students about their surroundings and help them feel safe and secure, they also serve as a reminder that even at Wofford, sexual misconduct can and does happen.  

 

As a Wofford community, we are responsible for taking care of one another. If you witness or experience sexual misconduct, do not hesitate to call Campus Safety at (864) 597-4911 or reach out to the Wellness Center for on-campus confidential services. You can also make a report to Campus Safety or a Title IX Coordinator.  

 

To learn more about your rights and options on campus and in the community, visit the Wofford College Title IX web page through the Wofford website. Students can come forward to Title IX at any time, no matter when or where an incident occurred. Students can go to Title IX without going through the process of making a complaint if they simply want to learn about their options or ask for resources.  

 

We are under pressure as a generation by all that this nomination process has dragged into the public sphere. Survivors are tired of carrying the weight of a culture that attempts to erase and ignore their pain. The cost of sexual misconduct should not be paid by survivors anymore; it is our responsibility to be effective bystanders and to have these important discussions in hopes of creating a brighter and safer future for everyone.   

 Photo Caption: Students participate in an open conversation about sexual misconduct on campus. 

Written by Molly Wells

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    Lisa MeierNov 11, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    While I’m not sure of the timing, both Swetnick and Ramirez have admitted to fabricating their accusations against Kavanaugh. While a story about campus sexual assault is important, please don’t presume guilty. As the parent of both boys and girls, it scares me how easily my son’s entire future could be ruined by false accusations. An article about campus sexual assault should be able to stand on its own without making it political.