Berkeley students: We do not need anybody like that in any position of power.
For the women in University Village, many of whom come from abroad, the development this week of a woman accusing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attacking her 35 years ago, brought back memories of sexual harassment and abuse.
For them, it was entirely plausible that Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, had an incident that happened 35 years ago seared in her memory.
Maggie, a 31-year-old student at San Francisco State University, said she was seven and her sisters six and eight years old when a 30-years-old married uncle touched them inappropriately.
She told her parents what had happened, but her complaint fell on deaf ears, and her uncle denied the allegations. “He said we made it up, that we were lying,” she said. “Maybe it’s just my family, but they believe they should avoid such kind of problems for family comfort.”
In Mexico, where she grew up, people tend to hide such cases.
Another woman, 31-year-old Polina said that In Russia, a false sense of shame prevents women from reporting cases of sexual harassment. She recalled an Instagram post, with the hashtag #metoo in which thousands of women left comments about their experiences of being sexually harassed.
“I had a feeling that girls in my country are afraid to talk about it,” she said. “They simply do not have the confidence that they will be protected.”
She said that the Russians have had a lot of political scandals that involved sex and high officials, but no one’s ‘s career has been affected by such allegations.
A graduate student in Public Health, 35-years-old Lakshmi from India said that she was “shocked” such a high-level judge would be accused of such behavior. India has had its share of scandals at the legislative level, but never for a high-ranking judge, she said.
“I believe the woman,” she said, “I do not think that any woman would want to “fame” herself this way and being in the public eye. She (Mrs. Ford) probably has gone through the trauma, rape or attempts to rape.”.
Metoo and related movements are also changing India, she said. The problem of rape is getting more attention, and people are at least beginning to report cases
No everyone viewed Ford in a positive light. Meiko, the 33-years old wife of a Berkeley law school student from Japan said Ford could have made up the incident. “Too much time has passed,” says she.
The MeToo movement is only slowly reaching Japan, she said, because there remains a national retisence to talk about such issues.
Nevertheless, she said, some actresses and TV-stars there have started to talk about it.
Erica, the 33-year-old partner of a Berkeley student, said she has a close friend, who was raped and experienced a second attempted rape. Both incidents happened in college. “This is very hard for people to talk about it,” she said. “clearly, Kavanaugh shouldn’t be a Supreme Court justice he was nominated for. We do not need anybody like that in any position of power.”
On Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has set a deadline of September 21 for Ford to decide whether she will testify. Earlier, both Kavanaugh and his accuser were called on to testify in Congress next Monday.