I recently read on air most of the opening remarks that Christine Blasey Ford would read on Thursday, when she appeared before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
There was no way for me to read and to hear those words and not be inclined to believe her. I didn’t hear the words of someone selling a book or auditioning for a movie or TV show. I didn’t hear the words of someone seeking vengeance. I heard someone who had one of the most painful events imaginable visited on her a long time ago.
That is, it was a long time ago in calendar years, but it’s not in emotional years. Trauma lives in the present. It sits in a part of the brain where you have to look at it and listen to it and smell it every single day.
For those of us who have never been traumatized, it’s an intellectual curiosity. For those of us who have, it’s an emotional monstrosity. It’s like having a monster for a roommate. The monster never leaves, and you must find a way to accommodate the monster, to cope with it. If you don’t, the monster devours you. Everyone who has suffered knows that.
Ford told the Senate committee her story: she said Brett Kavanaugh, a nominee to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, assaulted her in the early 1980s when they were both teenagers.
On Thursday night, we opened up our lines and asked the question: Are you inclined to believe her?
We received calls from people who had suffered trauma and who believe Ford 100 per cent.
And we had calls from those who felt she couldn’t be telling the truth because she didn’t know enough detail, because she waited too long to come forward — and because, if she said there was loud music blasting in that suburban bedroom, why would Kavanaugh have had to put his hand over her mouth?
As I heard that last remark in my own ears, amplified by in my Sennheiser HD 380 pro headset, I did everything possible to keep a lid on my mouth. I made the promise in that segment, as I often do: I will open up the lines not to judge but to listen. I want to make our radio kitchen table as hospitable and as safe as possible, and that means I want people to feel safe in joining me. The price of admission is revealing your honesty, not agreeing with mine.
It never matters to me who or how many people agree or disagree with me. It’s my honour to be invited into your life. I want to receive what your conscience is informing you. I don’t follow a left-wing or right-wing agenda. It’s simply me. And when simply me heard Christine Blasey Ford discuss how difficult this has been for her, I heard someone who was not following an agenda. She, too, in my opinion, was following her conscience, and she and her family were paying a price.
WATCH BELOW: DR. Christine Blasey Ford said she was ‘terrified’ to testify before the Senate
When Judge Kavanaugh came on later, his remarks included words about how his family was being destroyed by the stories told about him — those accusations coming from several people, including Ford. He discussed his wife and daughters, including the baby of the family, his 10-year-old.
Kavanaugh spent most of his remarks emotionally pinballing between rage and sadness. But there was one piece of testimony which was tailor-made for one member of his audience, the man who nominated him to the Supreme Court, and who had the power to take the nomination away if Kavanaugh did not perform up to expectations. That person is the president of the United States, Donald Trump, and these words from Judge Kavanaugh had to be music to his ears.
WATCH: Brett Kavanaugh lashes out at those he says oppose his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court
Judge Kavanaugh’s position is echoed by many men: Something happened to her, but it wasn’t done by him and it couldn’t have been him. This whole thing, say Kavanaugh and his supporters, is a case of mistaken identity.
That question was put to Ford:
WATCH: Christine Blasey Ford says ‘100 per cent’ certainty Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her
When I open the phone lines so you can give me your take, I have zero requirements that you agree with anything I’ve said. I am not here to judge you. I am here to listen.
But I would ask that you hear one more thing from my Canadian heart. As a man, I find few things sadder than hearing a bunch of men with power deliver the most two-faced position on the planet: “We believe the woman. But we believe she’s wrong.”
Charles Adler hosts Charles Adler Tonight on Global News Radio and is a columnist for Global News.