Book Review – One Way Back by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

In September of 2018, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward to state that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had physically and sexually assaulted her when she was 15 and he was 17 at a house party in the Summer of 1982.

Despite the consensus from Senate Judiciary Committee members of both parties that Dr. Ford was being truthful, the Senate ultimately confirmed Mr. Kavanaugh’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 50-48. Political cravenness at its best…or worst, I suppose, depending on where you stand.

Cover to One Way Back by Dr. Christine Blasey FordOne Way Back, a memoir from Dr. Ford recounts her life, the night of that assault and the effect her testimony had on her, her husband and two sons.

After reading her book, my impression of Dr. Ford is that she had a boringly normal life and, as evidenced by both her words and the observation of her mother, was NOT the type who enjoyed or sought the spotlight. It puts the lie to statements that women who dare to accuse their assailants are “out for attention” or “asked for it” in their dress or behavior.

It is a testament to her strength that following her sexual assault, she still managed to persevere through life despite the effects of that assault. Sadly, I think that is probably true of most young women who have had to endure such a personal attack.

I watched part of her testimony six years ago and, like the Senators who grilled her and the media who covered her, found Dr. Ford to be a poised, reliable witness to what had happened to her that night. Her book gives the same impression.

Her balanced, calm (outwardly, as you’ll see when you read the book) demeanor and testimony stood in stark contrast to the angry, spitting, loud and ugly “testimonial response” of Brett Kavanaugh.

After Anita Hill’s 1991 testimony of sexual harassment by then U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas you would think that 27 years later members of the U.S. Senate would have grown up and expanded their consciousness of the reality of sexual harassment and assault. Despairingly, they have not, as evidenced by their confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh in spite of the testimony against him.

I long for the day when accusations of this type are taken seriously by law enforcement, the public, and those charged with governing us. I long for the day when moral and ethical reasoning is put above political goals. I long for the day when the default response is to believe women when they stand against their accusers, instead of dismissing their testimony or trying to put the blame on them.

This book is NOT a blockbuster piece of writing, nor should it be. They are the words of a woman who knew her conscience would not let her have peace if she let such a person ascend to one of the highest positions in our land without letting it be known that he had physically and sexually assaulted her. She showed strength of character that neither the man who assaulted her or the Senators who approved him possessed.

Highly recommended.

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