Professor Christine Blasey Ford is getting support from the offspring of a former president still highly revered by Republicans as she faces questions as to why she remained silent for so many years after the alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Patti Davis, the daughter of President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, published an Op-Ed in The Washington Post yesterday that details for the first time her own sexual assault 40 years ago and her reasons for never speaking a word about it to anyone until now.
Ms. Davis was at the time an aspiring songwriter who had already managed to get a song she had co-written on an album by The Eagles. She recounts a disturbing story of a late afternoon meeting in the office of a prominent, but unnamed, music executive to try to get her songs recorded by some of the artists he represented. What she describes as happening next is a harrowing, cautionary story that perfectly explains why she believes Professor Ford and understands her silence
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“It doesn’t surprise me one bit that for more than 30 years, Christine Blasey Ford didn’t talk about the assault she remembers, the one she accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of committing.”
In telling her story, Reagan’s daughter explains the vagaries of memory in the aftermath of a traumatic event, with some important details remaining elusive, while other, seemingly trivial, details are etched in the brain.
Describing the events from so long ago, Ms. Davis doesn’t remember the conversation she had with the executive, but clearly recalls the color of the sky outside and the carpet in the office, the fact that the office was deserted at the late hour, and the details of what happened during and after the unprotected sex that the music honcho forced upon her.
“I remember leaving afterward, driving home, the night around me glittered with streetlights and alive with people out at dinner or bars. I felt alone, ashamed and disgusted with myself. Why didn’t I get out of there? Why didn’t I push him off? Why did I freeze?“, Davis asks herself.
“I don’t remember what month it was. I don’t remember whether his assistant was still there when I arrived. I don’t remember whether we said anything to each other when I left his office.“
“I never told anyone for decades — not a friend, not a boyfriend, not a therapist, not my husband when I got married years later.“
Ms. Davis explains the mental processes that take place over the ensuing years long after the horrific experience.
“Your memory snaps photos of the details that will haunt you forever, that will change your life and live under your skin. It blacks out other parts of the story that really don’t matter much.”
She also praises Professor Ford for her bravery in being willing to be put through the public shaming and accusations of political subterfuge that her demand of an FBI investigation of the incident has drawn.
“Ford wants the FBI to investigate so that some of the details she doesn’t remember can be established. It’s a brave request,” Davis writes. “Perhaps the aging men who are poised to interrogate her, unless they hide behind surrogates, should pause for a moment and think about the courage it takes for a woman to say: Here is my memory. It has haunted me for decades. It changed my life. You need to know about it now because of what is at stake for this country.”
“Requesting an investigation into the incident isn’t a big ask. Unless they just want her to go away. Which is, by the way, one reason that women are scared to speak up,” Davis concludes her confessional essay.
While Republicans pay saintly lip service to their former standard bearer, the harsh reality is that Ronald Reagan would scarcely recognize the party he once led which has drifted so much further into the realm of right-wing insanity than even he would have to object if he were still alive.
Luckily his daughter is brave enough to finally reveal her own tale of being the victim of rape and explain why she, like Professor Ford, has been so reluctant to speak out about it until it became a matter of sacrificing personal privacy for the greater good of preventing a morally unqualified man from achieving a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court.
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