If we ever needed a reminder why so many innocent survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence don’t come forward, the treatment of Christine Blasey Ford has provided a real whopper of a reminder. From the time it was known that she’d written Senator Dianne Feinstein to claim that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in 1983, Blasey Ford has been the target of a sustained campaign of victim-shaming, harassment and trolling. What is more, this campaign began even before she dropped her anonymity.
In one particularly galling example, Larry Lancaster, the chairman of the Republican Party in Cabarrus County, North Carolina–near my hometown of Charlotte–shared a picture purporting to be that of Blasey Ford in the early 1980s, implying that she was far too homely to be sexually assaulted. When called on it, Lancaster crassly said that he wanted his friends to “see the real person.”
There is only one acceptable response to such pigweed.
But what if I told you that at least one right-wing radio host thinks this sort of garbage is perfectly acceptable since Blasey Ford isn’t really innocent? And what if I told you that this host holds herself out to be an evangelical Christian?
On Thursday morning, American Family Radio morning host Sandy Rios weighed in on what is to date the most shameful case of mockery being directed at Blasey Ford. Namely, Donald Trump mocking Blasey Ford’s testimony while stumping in Mississippi for Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. As I write this on Thursday night, neither Hyde-Smith nor Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant have condemned this outrageous behavior.
But as far as Rios is concerned, Blasey Ford actually deserves to be the target of a trolling campaign. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Rios made clear that she was outraged by the outrage over Trump’s mockery of Blasey Ford. For good measure, Rios suggested that Blasey Ford brought it on herself.
Some people think that it was wrong to mock Christine Ford. I did my share of it, too. I think she’s a liar and I think she deserves mockery. I think she is the perpetrator. I think the more I’m learning about her, the more dangerous I’m hearing that she is. She’s not an innocent woman.
At first blush, it looked like Rios was going to dive into the usual right-wing shibboleth about Blasey Ford being yet another evil woman who is out to ruin the life of a good man. But Rios peddled another tidbit that has been bouncing around the darker reaches of the tubes. According to this line, Blasey Ford helped a longtime friend, Monica McLean, game a polygraph test when she was applying for jobs at the Justice Department–thus suggesting that Blasey Ford gamed the polygraph that helped form the basis of her claims against Kavanaugh.
McLean, a retired FBI agent, adamantly denies that Blasey Ford ever coached her.
But even if this were true and Blasey Ford isn’t innocent, Rios’ suggestion that she deserves to be mocked is outrageous. Even if someone is lying about being abused, mocking and trolling them only serves to lower us to their level.
I speak from experience. As many of my longtime readers and friends know, I was married for three years to an emotionally abusive and controlling woman. This woman even went as far as to peddle bogus charges against me, but fortunately they went nowhere. This was, by far, the most depraved and evil act in a laundry list of depraved and evil acts from her.
But despite that, I would never even think of firing off hateful and degrading memes about her, or using degrading language to describe her. Nor would I suggest that she deserves to be mocked and trolled. It would only make me as small as she was.
You would think that a Christian talk show host would know that you can’t lower yourself to such a level. But considering Rios’ history, it’s not a surprise that she actually believes Blasey Ford deserves to be mocked. Earlier this year, when White House staff secretary Rob Porter was pushed out of the West Wing for abusing his wives, Rios had the gall to say that we shouldn’t believe women who say they’ve been abused. And of course, she works for a radio network that isn’t exactly known for high standards.
The fact that so many of politicians find it acceptable to mock a sexual assault survivor solely because they don’t believe they’re innocent proves beyond any doubt that some little, little, little men are pretending to lead us. Well, we now know that they’re being cheered on by little, little, little men and women like Rios.
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