"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter," Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified when asked her most vivid memory of being sexually assaulted by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, referring to the brain area where traumatic memories are stored. "The uproarious laughter between the two and they're having fun at my expense."
It's not a leap to say that this is why President Donald Trump chose to openly mock Dr. Ford in front of thousands of people at a Mississippi rally Tuesday night. Most of the crowd behind him, which included some women holding "Women for Trump" signs and presumably people who identify themselves as good Christian folks, laughed like hyenas as the president, who has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by 19 women, made fun of a survivor of sexual violence.
“Thirty-six years ago this happened. I had one beer, right? I had one beer,” Trump said, his voice dripping with disdain as he imitated Dr. Ford testifying that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted and attempted to rape her.
"How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know," he said, making fun of how Dr. Ford wasn't able to recall certain details of her assault, as it often happens with survivors. "What neighbourhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember."
Trump's remarks were cruel attempt at dehumanising a survivor and private citizen who has faced a barrage of death threats and persecution following her decision to speak publicly against her alleged assailant. His comments also put into question the fairness of the FBI background investigation into the claims against Kavanaugh, as Trump is the one who directed its parameters.
Dr. Ford is not the only woman who has publicly accused Trump's nominee of sexual misconduct. Deborah Ramirez claims Kavanaugh "exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away" in college. Julie Swetnick says Kavanaugh was present when she was gang raped.
The president then went on to argue that Kavanaugh, who's denied the allegations, and men in general are the real victims of the societal movement against sexual harassment and violence that's been taking place in the last year.
"Think of your son. Think of your husband," Trump continued, disregarding the widespread evidence that false rape allegations are not common. “I’ve had many false accusations. I’ve had so many. When I say it didn’t happen, nobody believes me.”
Democrats and key Republicans like Sens. Jeff Flake and Susan Collins, who Trump needs if he wants Kavanaugh confirmed, condemned the remarks. Collins, who remains undecided on Kavanaugh's confirmation, said: "The president's comments were just plain wrong."
Michael Avenatti, who represents Swetnick, also pushed against Trump's comments.
"Trump sought applause and laughter at the expense of a sexual assault victim," Avenatti told Refinery29. "It is a disgusting example of behaviour for anyone, let alone the POTUS."
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).