Central New York

Kavanaugh-Ford Plays Role in Sexual Assault Victims Coming Forward

By Riley Henderson Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) —  On Thursday, September 27, 2018, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford went in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and millions of viewers at home, and shared her experience with sexual assault.

Her testimony along with the rest of the trial quickly went viral, making it a trending topic on all social media outlets.  It was almost impossible to log into social media that day without seeing the names”Kavanaugh” or “Ford”, or the hashtag #metoo.

The social media firestorm inspired other victims of sexual assault to come forward and share their own personal stories, some for the very first time.

Hannah Johnson, a junior at Syracuse University, decided that she was ready to open up on a more public platform after watching Blasey Ford’s testimony.  She wrote about her experience with sexual assault in an Instagram post.

“I’m a political science major so I was thinking about how I could use what was going on in our political climate to kind of influence people and make a difference,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that she doesn’t think that social media is always the best way to address serious topics, but seeing how the trial sparked positive change on a viral level made her think that she could also help others by sharing her personal story.

Carrie Land-Steves, Clinical Program Supervisor at the Vera House, has seen in increase in outreach from victims since the trial.

“I’ve had a lot of folks coming in and wanting to just process out, so this is why I haven’t told anyone, and it’s been 20 years,” said Land-Steves.

She said that social media provides a platform for victims to come forward on their own terms and share their truth in their own words.  She also said that trending hashtags and social media movements have created a positive, empowering narrative for sexual assault survivors.

The Senate confirmed that on Saturday Kavanaugh will move on to become one of the Supreme Court’s nine justices by a vote of 50-48.