October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and brings valued attention to the issue of intimate partner violence and domestic violence. Although sexual violence and assault do not discriminate based on gender, women are much more likely to be victims of both sexual and physical violence by an intimate partner or by an acquaintance. On average, 1 in 4 women experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Furthermore, 1 in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime. In light of the one year anniversary of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony recounting her sexual assault experience, we say loud and clear that we believe women, and we believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Dear Dr. Christine Blasey Ford,
One year ago, we watched you bravely recount your experience of sexual assault by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanagh. We, the faith community, honor your story, and stand with you as we witness the anniversary of this significant moment. We recognize your life has been forever altered because of your remarkable courage, and we thank you. We have watched you suffer from hateful threats of violence against your life, and we are so sorry.
Many have tried to discredit your integrity, but as the faith community, we uphold your dignity and worth as a woman made in the image of the divine. We acknowledge your incredible accomplishments as a professor, biostatistician, and research psychologist. As people of faith, we believe your story matters and we believe in you.
Although there is great pain in stories of abuse, there is great hope in speaking them aloud. Your fortitude has inspired many others to bring their own stories of assault and violence forward. Because of you, and women before you, other survivors of sexual assault are refusing to remain silent, regardless of their perpetrator’s status of power.
When we refuse to believe women, we refuse the opportunity to uphold justice in the face of violence. One year ago, you sought justice for your pain, but it was not granted. You deserved better. You still do, and we know the story doesn’t stop here. As people of faith, we continue to stand in solidarity with you as we fight for justice alongside you. We believe you. Thank you for your courage.
Madison Mayhew is the Justice and Peace Policy Fellow for Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ