(BISMARCK, ND) – From a member of the Hankinson News-Monitor team on Congressman Cramer’s “profoundly backward-looking,” “shameful” comments towards women:
Hankinson News-Monitor: Cramer’s comments are shameful
By Karen Speidel
October 5, 2018
I am a woman. That means I lived my entire life being treated differently. Girls grow up knowing that life isn’t always fair. We do the same work as male peers, but are paid less. Wage discrepancies aren’t the only problems. If a woman challenges the “good old boys club,” she is considered a bitch while a man is patted on the back and room is made for him at the proverbial table.
I am raising a teenage daughter. From the moment of birth I have instilled the concept “don’t be a victim.” I want her to fight back, to ask questions, to challenge the status quo.
It shamed me to hear Rep. Kevin Cramer’s comments about the alleged sexual assault orchestrated by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Three women so far have stepped forward. In the interest of full disclosure, these are only allegations.
If legitimate, Kavanaugh’s attacks are heinous enough. It doesn’t matter if he was a teenager when the alleged incidents occurred. Sexual assault is a crime. To hear Cramer dismiss the allegations because they “never went anywhere” or there “was no type of intercourse” is a tremendous step back in women’s equality and rights — from a man who wants to represent North Dakota in the U.S. Senate.
The concept that crimes can only be committed by adults is factually incorrect. Between 1 in 5 women are victims of sexual harassment. That is for all ages. Boys are just as guilty as men of trying to force themselves on a girl. Society no longer accepts the adage that “boys will be boys” when it comes to sexual assault.
Today’s girls are inundated with sexual slapstick as social media takes harassment to a new level. Girls are asked repeatedly by boys to send them a “naked selfie.” Harmless? Never. It portrays the continued objectification of women.
Attempting a sexual assault is still a crime, as can be attested by the #MeToo Movement that derailed powerful men from the entertainment industry and political spectrums.
Cramer’s caveman rhetoric is a profoundly backward-looking view of law and responsibility from someone who should know better. He went so far as to say Kavanaugh’s accuser was a drunk teenager when the alleged incident occurred, alleging she wasn’t a “good girl.” Intoxication is not a defense if someone is driving drunk. It most certainly cannot be used as a legitimate defense in this alleged incident either. For Cramer to suggest anything else is disturbing and shows his disregard for women.
I believe with my whole heart that Cramer’s comments are not representative of North Dakota values. My father never held such beliefs, nor do my husband, brothers, cousins, neighbors, friends, acquaintances … I could go on, but you get the picture.
There is no place in today’s culture for such a callous disregard for women. We deserve better. We expect better, especially from a person wanting to represent our state at the national level.