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Women and Men and the Kavanaugh Hearings (Volume 10, February 20, 1981 - April 24, 1981 and Volume 1

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

In 1981, I worked in the Hancock Building in Chicago, at a place called IFMA - International Foodservice Manufacturers Association. I was the secretary to the Vice President of Marketing, who once said to me, “I like you. You’re not large-breasted, but I like you.”

March 26, 1981 - Thursday

This conversation occurred between “Shelly Smith” from House of Seagram and a man who is a speaker at an upcoming IFMA function:

(“Shelly” had an appointment with a gynecologist at lunch. She arrived back at the office at 3:00 and returned a call to this man who had called in her absence.)

Man: “Well, you’re back late from lunch, aren’t you?”

Shelly: “Well, actually I had an appointment.”

Man: “Oh? Was it by any chance a gynecology appointment?”

Shelly: (a little taken aback) “Yes, as a matter of fact it was.”

Man: “Why would you pay somebody to do that? I’d do it for you! Was he good?”

Shelly: “Yes — as a matter of fact he was good because he is a she.

Man: “A she? I didn’t know you were one of those.”

I’d like to think that things have changed over the course of the last 37 years. But I’d probably be wrong. Skipping 37 years ahead to a recent journal entry, which a month and three days later seems like ancient history (since the Kavanaugh hearings, the news has been preoccupied with the caravan of migrants, Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and dismemberment, the mail bomber targeting prominent Democrats and the mass murder in a Jewish synagogue, oh, and the murder of Whitey Bulger in prison — 89 year old Mafia hit man turned informant who had his eyes gouged out en route to death by another younger hit man -- the news is so uplifting!) (and the midterm elections are still six days away…):

Friday, September 28, 2018, 5:00 a.m.

Yesterday was SO DEPRESSING.

I watched or listened to the Christine Blasey Ford/Brett Kavanaugh hearing all day. Blasey Ford’s testimony was riveting.

When she was detailing the night that Kavanaugh and Mark Judge pushed her into a room, locked the door, turned up the music and assaulted her, my heart was pounding. When she responded that the thing she remembered the most searingly was the way they both laughed at her while Kavanaugh was on top of her (groping her and grinding against her), my heart was breaking. For her, and for all women.

I was right back in my apartment on Scott Street in Chicago, when the two guys I’d talked to earlier during a night of drinking at the Rush Street bars followed me home, barged into my building, barged into my tiny apartment — and when I turned around they had taken off their clothes.

Trying to maintain a semblance of control over what was clearly going to happen to drunk me, I went along with their plan to avoid being raped and hurt. I think I weighed in the 80’s at the time.

I wrote about this experience back in 1979. I didn’t see myself as being a victim because I never said NO and I didn’t try to make two drunk, strange men leave my apartment, though I did NOT want to have sex with them. They held my head and made me speak into my phone, to prove the story they would later tell. Today, they would have used their cell phones to take pictures they could post, or videos.

I’ve rarely talked about this experience to anyone, but Ellis knows about it.

The day before yesterday, Marilyn and I were exchanging war stories and I told her about this episode.

“Did you report it?” she asked.

“No, of course not.”

I guess hundreds of thousands of women have posted their stories at #WHYIDIDN’TREPORT.

Of course the Republican men in charge (I’m so sick of powerful old white men) made Dr. Ford testify first. It’s always an advantage to go last.

Brett Kavanaugh’s ANGER AND TEARS almost obliterated Christine Blasey Ford’s carefully emotionally controlled testimony.

She was talking about something that happened to her 36 years ago, that has negatively impacted her entire life. She was quietly sad and brave and dignified.

The Republican men said not a word, having delegated their questions to a female prosecutor from Arizona.

He, Kavanaugh, was talking about something that happened to him in the past two weeks (being called out) so his anger and pain are fresh and raw. He, being a man, will be applauded for his tears and his righteous anger.

The Republican men suddenly found their voices when it was time to address (praise) their beer-drinking buddy. (Lindsay Graham’s anger, on display during a break, was horrible to witness. He is so awful.)

It’s like they’re so entitled that they just can’t believe anyone is making a fuss about something as common and unimportant as drunken sexual assault. That goes with their privileged white male territory — drinking and treating women like objects are what they deserve after a hard day’s work!

What I saw is an alcoholic in complete denial about the extent of his drinking problem. He NEVER blacked out, NEVER lost track of time, NEVER assaulted Ford or ANYONE ELSE, can account for every second of his life in 1982 because he kept calendars. He’s an angelic, church-going choir boy! I think he missed his calling as a Catholic priest, except he’s not into boys.

Marilyn said he reminds her of her angry dry drunk friend, Chuck.

It’s so, so disheartening to know that in about 3-4 hours, Republican senators, mostly men, are going to ram his nomination to the Supreme Court through.

We’ll be stuck with this angry, creepy, beer-swilling, baggage-carrying, very PARTIAL, conspiracy theory-touting right wing conservative Supreme Court justice until long after I’m dead. Blasey Ford will join Anita Hill in the history books as yet another woman whose victimization was discounted in the corridors of white male power.

Kavanaugh’s other two accusers are going to be less than footnotes.

I “unpainted” for several hours as I listened to Kavanaugh. I can’t wait to get another layer of paint over my obliterating layer to cover up any trace of negative psychic energy I put into the painting yesterday. Sadness about climate change is what I want in the painting, not anger at those jerks in Washington.

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