By Hannah Kelly
I’m in a hair salon. My roommate wanted to get a haircut, and since I don’t have classes until later in the day, I decided to come with her. Like most of the businesses in our East Boston neighborhood, the salon is owned by immigrants from Colombia. The hair dresser doesn’t speak English, so we have to pantomime how short my friend wants the cut. It is September 27th, 2018. Just starting to get chilly in Boston, and on the TV above the mirror where we watch my friend’s hair fall away, the Kavanaugh hearing plays.
I watch, holding my friend’s hand—like me, a native South Carolinian—as Lindsey Graham says that Brett Kavanaugh has nothing to apologize for. He shakes his fist at the cameras; Kavanaugh is a victim, this is the most egregious thing he has ever seen in all his years in politics. He talks for five minutes and barely mentions Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
I was twenty years old, just entering my third year of college—I’m twenty-two now and have graduated into a pandemic and recession, and like many of my peers, have moved home. I think about the things Lindsey Graham must have seen, and more importantly the things he hasn’t. I am twenty-two years old and I know women who have been pressured into sex by their boyfriends. I know women who have been assaulted by men at parties—acquaintances, boys from class, friends. I know women who have been violently attacked by strangers. I have seen men walking around campus who have multiple title IX investigations open against them. I know that Lindsey Graham has seen nothing.
The truth is this: Lindsey Graham has no idea what happened between Dr. Ford and Justice Kavanaugh. I would not be surprised if Brett Kavanaugh genuinely has no memory of that day—after all, nothing happened to him. Only Dr. Ford knows the truth, and when Lindsey Graham wrote her off as a footnote, hardly worth mentioning at the hearings to determine the veracity of her accusation, I clearly understood his meaning. That my senator would not believe me—that if I ever accused a man politically inconvenient to him, he wouldn’t even hear me out.
When I got back to my apartment that day, I called Lindsey Graham’s office, to let him know how his performance made one of his young, female constituents feel.
His staff never picked up the phone, just let it ring.