That thing…

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To my beautiful, wise, and powerful survivors, and to the woman who inspired this letter, Dr. Ford…

We rise. I apologize for the hate, arrogance, and disregard for each of our truths that has come to the forefront of American politics… It is a reality we have internalized, a silence we have carried, but we know very well that as we scroll our feeds, as we pull open the papers, as we read the comments… and hear that man’s words… we feel that thing.

You feel that sense of loss for every time you had to look away when you felt someone’s eyes on you. You carry a sense of shame for walking away when you felt the objectification smothering you in words, texts, social settings, and even in the sacred spaces of our schools, homes, and places of worship. There is that thing that sends a chill down your spine and bursts a whole deep in your stomach when that one person touches or speaks to you in that way. There is that thing we all know, but never have the words to describe, but can pass it with glances, nods, tears, and sighs. You have been to that place, somewhere, one time, where you just remember that thing… You remember your feelings, that thing, and for having to carry them now and for the rest of your life, I apologize. I send all the strength of survivors before you, and those to come to move toward healing.

Brett Kavanaugh is not a victim. Brett Kavanaugh is a privileged, dishonest, arrogant, disrespectful, and abuse human being. His lack of empathy and care were emphasized in his vile bursts of accusatory attacks yesterday, but more than anything were, and continue to be, practiced in his everyday life. In his life, and of the men who supported a person who committed sexual assault on multiple occasion. His privilege as a male, a white male, a white wealthy male, a white wealthy educated male has allowed him a freedom reserved for only those who consent to toss out the moral framework which inspired our legal system in the United States. “Liberty” is reserved for the wealthy and white.

The hypocrisy of politics reeks on both sides of party lines in the country that fraudulently boasts democratic principals, and as evidenced through the Supreme Court nomination process, notably on the right this week. The only way to push back is to move, to call, to organize, to speak, to act, and to be the verbs you know that you need to be…there is no other way than to chip away at the institutions and hegemonic ideals that have allowed that thing to hoard power.

You can be afraid. You can cry. You can hurt… but you will never be alone. In these moments when we are tested the most is when the world sees our resiliency, power, and unshakable and loving solidarity. It is not ok. This is not ok, but I am committed to do my part to dismantle the systems that have allowed that thing to lead, make decisions, and control my world.

Raise a middle finger, choose your favorite four-letter word, and carry that rage and trauma as your guide to navigate a world that will scour in fear at the power your pain can carry. We heal together, we move together, we love together. I don’t know you, but I love you. My rage is a unstoppable and so very powerful.

With the best intentions for those who do the work, and a hearty fuck you to the leaders in power who cast aside ethical roots that give humanity the lens through which we need to see the world,

Dr. Carissa A. Purnell, survivor