One morning, when I was in my early twenties, I left my apartment for the bus stop. I was living on Chicago's North Side, headed to a temp job downtown. A block and a half from my bus stop, a man approached me from behind and tapped me on the shoulder.
The "boys will be boys" defense no longer holds. Let's be as crystal clear to all of our sons as my husband and I are to our 16-year-old boy: If you sexually assault a woman, you are committing a crime, and it will affect the rest of your life. Isn't that what we tell our sons will happen if they get behind the wheel while intoxicated? How is sexual assault less significant?
In less than two years, the universe has changed dramatically. The #MeToo movement changed our culture and the way we, as a society, look at sexual assault and sexual harassment. Women are coming forward. They are working through their fear, shame, and trauma in order to change the rules.
And just as this seismic shift will have an effect on a new generation of boys, it will also have an effect on a new generation of girls. If my 20-year-old daughter gets attacked or harassed, she is much more likely to report it than I was.
As I write this, a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, has come forward. She has accused Kavanaugh of inappropriate sexual behavior in college.
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In spite of this, the White House and the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are forging ahead with Judge Kavanaugh's nomination without an independent investigation looking into the allegations against him. A hearing is set for Thursday where Ford and Kavanaugh are expected to testify.
President Trump, Senators Grassley and Graham, and the rest of their party may never get it, and Judge Kavanaugh may still be confirmed. But make no mistake, the rules have changed. As millions of American women share their #Metoo moments, it becomes harder to argue this "boys will be boys" nonsense.
It gets harder to question 30-year-old memories. It gets harder to ignore women like Ford.
Women across America will be watching on Thursday, and, in just a few weeks, they'll be voting.