Women’s Center holds dialogue on judicial hearings


Katharine Toledo, Staff Reporter

**Due to the sensitive nature of the discussion panel, the names of its participants will not be included in this article and all speakers will be referenced using gender-neutral pronouns. Furthermore, no specific stories shared by the participants in the discussion will be shared out of respect of the privacy of the participants and sensitive nature of said stories.**

On Friday, Oct. 5, the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women teamed up with the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center to host an informal discussion regarding the confirmation hearings of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the context of sexual misconduct allegations brought against him. Rather than focusing on the details of the hearing itself, the discussion panel centered around how the members of the campus community are handling the news and their concerns for his nomination and confirmation process.

The discussion began with all participants introducing themselves and expressing their sentiments on the situation. Several people described feeling disappointed and powerless after listening to the allegations discussed in the hearings. One participant called the hearings “a punch to the gut,” detailing their fear that the candidate would be confirmed regardless of whether or not an FBI investigation on the claims or the hearings themselves proved the allegations to be true.

On Saturday, that person’s fear became reality when Kavanaugh was confirmed as the newest Associate Supreme Court Justice.

Multiple participants brought up their “lack of surprise” at the situation; one student explained that in today’s political climate, little comes as a shock and said that reading the news is sometimes likened to “reading satire.”

Following the dialogue on the confirmation hearings, participants were asked to discuss how they are practicing self-care in the wake of national spotlight on sexual misconduct, a topic which can be emotionally difficult to listen to.

The participants agreed that the best methods of self-care are to sleep more and try to disconnect from social media. In a society where human lives generally revolve around the internet, one participant stated, “It can be nearly impossible to remove ourselves from the biggest news story in the U.S., even the world.”

However, by deleting social media and limiting the time spent reading the news each day, a few of the participants noted that they were able to reduce outside stress.

The discussion concluded with a conversation of how the Kavanaugh situation ties in to the broader #MeToo movement against sexual violence. Several people expressed their mutual desires to see men enter the predominantly female movement in two contexts: disclosing their own assaults and assuming responsibility for past transgressions in the realm of sexual harassment, assault or other forms of violence.

The Women’s Center anticipates discussion sessions of a similar, informal nature in order to further dialogue in regards to similar issues which affect many members of the Case Western Reserve University community.