Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Yes – it is official. How the story is spun, whether we believe the allegations against him, or we celebrate his career success in the face of public humiliation, he is now the leader of our nation’s justice system. No matter which side you are on, we can all learn from the past two weeks of controversy. For parents and children, especially, it is the hope that we all realize that we can be held accountable for our actions, no matter our age.
Dismissing an assault as “excusable” simply because the perpetrator was in high school, is not only unacceptable, it is cruel. If we were to dismiss a life-altering injury to a young woman who was hit by a drunk driver with the excuse that the perpetrator was in high school, we would have a much different response. A drunk teenager intentionally sexually assaulting a young woman should not be excused either. This is not behavior that should be tolerated, ever. Yet we are not only tolerating it, but we are also allowing a perpetrator to run our nation’s justice system.
I applaud and congratulate the U.S. Senate for confirming our GREAT NOMINEE, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the United States Supreme Court. Later today, I will sign his Commission of Appointment, and he will be officially sworn in. Very exciting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2018
We live in a world of excuses, and this needs to change. We have offered excuses to football players who deflate balls to win a game, we have offered excuses to Catholic priests molesting young boys, and we even offer excuses to the president for sexually harassing women. But time is up, and we must put down our egos and accept the fact that no matter how successful someone may seem, certain acts of cruelty are simply intolerable. There should be some sense of accountability.
The #MeToo movement has empowered victims around the world to come forward and risk everything by voicing their assaults to the public. And yet there are still so many who mock the men and women of this movement, claiming they are simply “seeking attention.” This condemnation is nothing more than an attempt to belittle the victims and take away their voice. But in spite of the mockery, history has shown that it is these movements that trigger great change. From the civil rights movement to the black lives matter movement, change occurs because people’s viewpoints change, causing a sense of accountability that breaks down the walls of entitlement across our nation.
We must also realize that growing up in a family of privilege will not always protect you. Yes, you will arguably have an easier life, with more money to protect you and more social prestige to win supporters, but the truth tends to seep through the inevitable rips in your invisible cloak. It is our duty as parents to raise our children to respect boundaries, treat people with respect, and fear the consequences of our actions, no matter how high our social class is. If we raise our children in an environment where we tolerate entitlement and assault, we will raise a generation of hostility.
As young children, we see our parents as superheroes, our moms as the most loving moms, and our dads as the strongest dads. These are normal thoughts for young children who have a very innocent and naïve view of the world, and whose minds are sculpted by their immediate surroundings. But as we grow older those views fade and larger social circles shape our confidence. With that comes the risk that children can let their privilege spill over into their egos. If their social network and families don’t foster ethics and morality, they move on from innocent thoughts of their parents being invincible, to their more egocentric thoughts of themselves being invincible. The latter far more dangerous than the former.
Yes, age matters. We (hopefully) have more rational thoughts as our minds mature, but our emotional brains are not fully developed until we are nearly 25. Yet while we excuse behaviors and bullying of children and teens, we forget that the victims are also younger. It is a known fact that the younger assaults and abuses occur, the more long-term the consequences tend to be. A child being sexually assaulted at age 4, is much different than an adult being sexually assaulted at the age of 44. The emotional, psychological, and developmental impacts of abuse can be infinitely more life-altering when the emotional brain is still developing.
Christine Blasey Ford was just in high school when she was assaulted by Kavanaugh. She was far from fully mature, far from fully settled, and far from fully independent. To feel that her assault was not only personally damaging, but excused by so many, is possibly worse than the assault itself. We, as a nation, cannot raise our children to believe that if you are privileged, of high political status, or surrounded by wealth, that you are invincible. Bullying and emotional assaults come in many forms, both physical and emotional, and the younger they occur, the more damaging. That’s a fact. Let’s protect our nation by raising good children.