Things That Matter

Here’s How People Are Coming Together To Support Brett Kavanaugh’s Accusers After They Came Forward

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The United States has experienced a very emotional time during Supreme Court hearings for Brett Kavanaugh. Victims of sexual assault watched as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford went before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to tell her story. Dr. Ford spoke calmly and consistently about how Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her one summer in high school. All this just days after Deborah Ramirez’s account of Kavanaugh exposing himself to her in their first year at Yale University.

While the Republican majority Senate plans to vote Kavanaugh in as the next lifetime-long Supreme Court Justice, many Latino Senators have showed their support for Dr. Ford, alongside some celebrities. Here’s the highlight reel of what you missed at the hearing and the major players involved.

Disclaimer: the details of her assault can be triggering. Please proceed with caution.

“I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”

CREDIT: @onespinal / Instagram

While three women have laid serious sexual assault claims against Kavanaugh, Dr. Ford is the only woman who has consented to go before the Senate in a nationally televised court setting to share her harrowing, intimate story.

Ford details the incident during which Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, shove her into a bedroom, pinned her to the bed and tried to rip off her clothes. She tried screaming for help, but he put the weight of his hand over her mouth.

“It was hard for me to breathe and I believed that Brett was going to accidentally kill me,” she said.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham repeatedly dismissed Ford’s claims and then had an aoutburst of emotion defending Kavanaugh.

CREDIT: @NRO / Twitter

He didn’t even question Kavanaugh. He just railed on his defense and said, “To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics,” and that Ford was “just as much of a victim as you [Kavanaugh] are.”

Dr. Ford openly shared that she has no political motives and is putting herself at risk to share her story.

CREDIT: @THR / Twitter

Her and her family have been receiving death threats that have “rocked [her] to [her] core.”

“I have been accused of acting out of partisan political motives,” she said. “Those who say that do not know me. I am a fiercely independent person, and I am no one’s pawn. My motivation in coming forward was to provide the facts about how Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions have damaged my life, so that you can take that into serious consideration as you make your decision about how to proceed.”

Meanwhile, Kavanaugh crossed the line of indignation and appeared angry.

CREDIT: @tictoc / Twitter

“This confirmation process has become a national disgrace,” Kavanaugh said in his tearful and resentful opening statement. “The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.”

When asked about his high school and college reputation of being a drunk and a partier, his actual soundbite was, “I liked beer. I still like beer. Do you like beer, Senator?”

Dr. Ford passed a polygraph test while Kavanaugh said they’re “not much use.”

CREDIT: @thehill / Twitter

At the end of the hearing, Senator Kamala Harris asked Kavanaugh if he would submit to a polygraph test. He said he would, but that it would be inadmissible. Just two years ago, Judge Kavanaugh wrote an opinion article that detailed how polygraph examinations are “an important law enforcement tool.”

Democratic Senators failed to ask about Deborah Ramirez’ claims against Kavanaugh.

CREDIT: @LifeNewsHQ / Twitter

Ramirez currently lives in Boulder Colorado, but was raised in a Catholic Puerto Rican household in Connecticut. Ramirez tells the The New Yorker that she was invited to a party as a Yale freshman where you sit in a circle and people pick who has to drink. She was targeted and quickly became so drunk, she was on the floor, “foggy and slurring her words.”

“I remember a penis being in front of my face.”

CREDIT: @prosemund4 / Twitter

Other students were laughing and telling her to “kiss it.” She was raised as a devout Catholic and was planning to only have sex within marriage. Then she remembers Brett pulling his pants up and laughing. Then, she heard someone yelling, “Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face.”

She remembers feeling mortified.

Both Ramirez and Ford are asking that the FBI reopen their investigation into Brett Kavanaugh.

CREDIT: @CNNPolitics / Twitter

The vetting process took place before any allegations were brought up. While these women will never forget what happened to them, up until very recently, we have lived in a culture of shame around being sexually assaulted. Rape culture blames the victim, doubts the victim, questions the victim’s memory and credibility.

READ MORE: Sen. Jeff Flake Called For An FBI Investigation Into Kavanaugh After Two Latinas Confronted Him With Their Stories.

More than 2,200 Yale women have signed a letter of support for Ms. Ramirez.

CREDIT: @dailycamera / Twitter

Someone paid for this banner to fly over Boulder, Colorado, where Ramirez lives, and where she hasn’t left her home since the story broke. Ramirez first started leaving pieces of paper on her trash that said, “no comment” and “no trespassing.”

Today, it reads, “Please demand an FBI investigation for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Debbie Ramirez’s claims.”

Several Republicans have made it known that sexual assault claims are non-partisan.

CREDIT: @ananavarro / Twitter

Including Ana Navarro, the famous Nicaraguan-born American Republican strategist and political commentator, who says, “Every American -every Senator- listening to Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford testimony today, should remember, this is not about ideology. It’s not about wanting or not wanting a Conservative on Court. That’s a different issue. This is about right & wrong. It’s about fitness of character.”

Our hearts grow bigger for these celebrities who are speaking out in support of Ford:

CREDIT: @hereisgina / Twitter

Gina Rodriguez put it simply, “I believe you.”

As Senators from both sides asked how Ford was so sure it was Kavanaugh, she replied in the way only a survivor and Ph.D in psychology could: “It’s just basic memory functions, and also just the level of norepinephrine and the epinephrine in the brain that sort of -as you know- encodes; that neurotransmitter encodes that trauma into the hippocampus. And so the trauma-related experience is kind of locked there while other details kind of drift.”

Eva Longoria joined other celebrities in a video PSA.

CREDIT: @evalongoria / Instagram

In the PSA, her along with Julie Michaels, America Ferrera, and many others all read aloud, “Dear Professor Ford, we know how difficult it is to stand up to powerful people. We want to thank you for publicly sharing your story of sexual violence. As members of the Senate determine whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh should serve as a Supreme Court Justice, this context is critical.

The behavior you described was wrong and runs directly counter to upholding the law and promoting justice. He should not be confirmed… We believe you.”

“One Day at a Time” star, Justina Machado points out the stark contrast between how we treat 17-year-old white boys and brown toddlers in America.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

She retweeted Erika Andiola’s poignant truth, “In Trump’s America, a 17-year-old privileged, white teenage boy can’t be held accountable for sexually abusing teenage girls, but toddlers brought to America are detained, held in cages and expected to defend themselves in immigration court. Think about it.”

Sara Ramirez live tweeted the whole hearing process.

CREDIT: @sararamirez / Instagram

You know she was watching from her home and retweeting action plans and opinions about Kavanaugh’s emotional outbursts like, “He’s crying because his whiteness, his maleness, his PRIVILEGE, his ‘promised’ perfect future is being questioned, and society never prepared him for failure or for facing the consequences of his actions.”

Meanwhile, two of the four Latino Senators in office made their allegiances clear.

CREDIT: @SenatorMenendez / Twitter

Caption: “Searing. Powerful. Brave. The details of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony are heart-wrenching to hear. I hope every single Senator not only watches, but listens. Thank you Dr. Ford for your courage. #IBelieveChristineBlaseyFord”

Cuban-American Menendez called out the GOP for funneling their questions through an outside party prosecutor.

CREDIT: @SenatorMenendez / Twitter

Senator Menendez of New Jersey was sensitive to what this hearings meant for his constituents. He retweeted RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) with this message:

“1.8 million survivors of sexual violence live in NJ, and watching or hearing about this testimony can be triggering. Survivors need to know, you are not alone. I encourage anyone seeking help to start here.”

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is the other half of the Democratic Latinos in the Senate that supports Dr. Ford’s wish.

CREDIT: @SenCortezMasto / Twitter

Over and over again, senators asked Kavanaugh to ask the President and the FBI to investigate the claims to clear his name and allow the proceedings to go on. Several witnesses of the assaults of Dr. Ford, Ms. Ramirez and Ms. Swetnick have not been interviewed.

Swetnick’s attorney posted a statement that Swetnick witnessed Kavanaugh lining up outside a bedroom door where “numerous boys” were “waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room.” Swetnick was raped at one of the parties and believed she was drugged.

Republican Marco Rubio previously supported Kavanaugh but now claims to have his hesitations.

CREDIT: @marcorubiofla / Instagram

Politico asked Marco Rubio if he maintains his yet vote and he wavered, “I want to see what happens in the hearing on Thursday. I can only vote based on the information before me.”

Rubio is notorious for saying what his constituents and Americans want to hear but votes with his party consistently.

Activists rallied outside Rubio’s office against Kavanaugh.

CREDIT: @womensmarch / Twitter

While protests have organized all around the country, it’s important for locals to show up to their Senator’s office, especially if they’re undecided. I mean, it is Rubio’s job to represent his constituents.

There is going to be a weeklong pause as the FBI opens a “limited” investigation into Dr. Ford’s allegations.

CREDIT: @americaferrera / Instagram

The results of the probe could change the outcome of the vote for Kavanaugh. Only time will tell.


READ: Lawsuit Alleges That Cristiano Ronaldo Raped A Woman In 2009 In Las Vegas

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Deaf Students At A Catholic School In Argentina Are Telling Their Story Of Abuse And Neglect By Priests

Things That Matter

Deaf Students At A Catholic School In Argentina Are Telling Their Story Of Abuse And Neglect By Priests

Jon Tyson / Flickr

Justice may soon be on the horizon for as many as 20 victims who say they were sexually abused, including cases of rape, between 2004 and 2016. Priests Nicola Corradi, 83, Horacio Corbacho, 59 and a former gardener Armando Gomez, 49, are all facing charges of sexually abusing deaf children in their care. The shocking case has sent shock waves through Argentina’s society and the Catholic church. The terrible acts occurred at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza, a Catholic school for deaf children that was founded in 1995 and in which Corradi headed until his arrest in November 2016.

People in Argentina are looking for answers and are asking how this horrendous crime could have happened?

Credit: @revistasemana / Twitter

The two priests and gardener appeared in court Monday to face their long-awaited charges of sexual abuse. The three men face prison sentences of up to 20 years in some cases, up to 50 years in others. The trial, which is expected to last two months, will hear testimony from 13 victims who suffered negligence and abuse between the ages of four and 17, relating to 43 offenses.

News of the abuse at the school broke at the end of 2016 and created a huge scandal. The scandal grew when it became clear that Rev. Corradi was behind the charges. It has been reported that Corradi was accused of similar allegations at the Antonio Próvolo institute in Verona, Italy. Pope Francis, an Argentine, has since been notified that Corradi was behind both allegations but has yet to comment publicly despite on the matter despite his close affiliation. 

There has already been one sentencing in wake of the scandal. Jorge Bordón, an institute employee, was sentenced to 10 years in prison last year on charges of rape, sexual touching, and corrupting minors.

One of the victims has spoken up about his emotions going into the trial and his search for justice. 

Credit: @news1130 / Twitter

Ezequiel Villalonga,18, is one of the victims of the pedophile priests, says that he was preyed upon at the school as a minor. Villalonga is deaf which makes the case even more heartbreaking. Now, he’s getting the chance to tell his story as the trial goes to court.

“I think that everything in the Church is fake. Everything they made us read, recite, the way (they said) people should live,” Villalonga told the AP in sign language right before the start of the priests’ trial on Monday. “I think they lie and that they’re demonic.”

Villalonga was sent to the school when he was 4 years old after his mother found out her son was deaf when he was only seven months old. For many of those years at Provo, he was only allowed to go home on weekends and spent the majority of his days there inside a massive building with little to no contact. Despite the school’s specialized mission in helping deaf children, he didn’t teach him how to speak during his time there. It was until he was an adult he learned sign language. 

“Life there was terrible. We didn’t learn anything, we couldn’t speak to each other because we didn’t know sign language,” he said. “We would write without knowing what it said, and when we asked other classmates, no one understood anything.”

Things haven’t been easier for his mom, Natalia, who says her family has had to pause their lives due to the case and the horrors that have happened to her son. 

“I am super-nervous, anxious and I hope for justice; that this ends soon so my son can move on to a new stage because this is very hard,” said Natalia Villalonga told the Washington Post.

While the trial is just getting started, the trauma and disbelief for many of the young victims have gone on for too long.

Credit: @Crux / Twitter

Paola Gonzalez’s daughter, Milagros, who is now 16 years old, had been one of those 20 abused while attending the Institute. Gonzalez was shocked and angry when she found out what had happened to her daughter at what she considered at one point, a prestigious institution. 

“You should have seen her little body when she went into (the Provolo). She was so small,” Gonzalez told the AP. “I don’t understand, I can’t imagine such evil. How could they do so much harm to such a fragile creature?” 

READ: A Brazilian Gang Leader Thought He Could Use A ‘Scooby-Doo’ Tactic To Escape Prison

A Judge Denied R. Kelly Bail After He Pled Not Guilty, Is This The Beginning Of His End?

Entertainment

A Judge Denied R. Kelly Bail After He Pled Not Guilty, Is This The Beginning Of His End?

Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty Images

On the heels of Dream Hampton’s “Surviving R. Kelly” series on Lifetime, which detailed multiple sexual abuse allegations against Robert Kelly, it appears the alleged pedophile may finally face some consequences. Hampton’s six-part docuseries, along with the hashtag #MuteRKelly created a firestorm of renewed public interest in what might be at least three decades of possible abuse from the singer R. Kelly. Since February, Kelly has been indicted on multiple criminal charges, spanning incidents across four states: Illinois, Connecticut, California, and New York. 

However, the Eastern District of New York’s federal case against Kelly is just one of many legal battles the singer is up against as he faces what many feel is an overdue reckoning. 

R. Kelly is “irritated” by bail denial according to his lawyer. 

R. Kelly was denied bail pending his trail during an arraignment hearing at the Eastern District federal court in Brooklyn, New York today. The R&B singer pleaded not guilty to a host of charges, including sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, forced labor, and racketeering. U.S. District Magistrate, Judge Steve Tiscone, who was “extremely troubled” by allegations that Kelly intimidated witnesses, ordered him to remain in custody until the trial. 

Prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes argued Kelly should be denied bail. Geddes alleged Kelly paid off witnesses to not appear in court while out on bail during the 2002 child pornography case against him. It should be noted Kelly wasn’t acquitted until six years later — that’s quite a while to be out when charged with such serious crimes. 

The judge agreed with Geddes. Later, Anton told reporters Kelly was “irritated” about the denial. Nevertheless, Kelly will be flown back to Illinois by U.S. Marshals within 48 hours of the hearing. 

Kelly’s alleged victims have waited a long time to see justice. 

The 52-year-old has dodged rumors and allegations of sexual assault since 1997 when Kelly, then 27 years old, was rumored to have married the 15-year-old pop star Aaliyah in secret. Kelly has denied rumors that he married or dated Aaliyah for years. However, in Surviving R. Kelly, Jovante Cunningham, a former backup singer of Kelly’s, claims he saw the two together firsthand. 

“On a tour bus, there really aren’t many confined spaces. When you get on the bus there are bunks and so these bunks have little curtains you can pull at night if you don’t want anybody to see you sleeping,” Cunningham recalled

“So it just so happened we were all laying in our bunks and the curtains are open, everybody’s communicating, laughing,” Cunningham continued. “When the [room] door flew open on the bus. Robert was having sex with Aaliyah.”

 In 2002, Kelly was indicted on 21 charges related to child pornography but was acquitted of all charges by a jury in 2008. Gloria Allred, who represents three Jane Does in the Eastern District’s case, said there are reportedly 13 victims in total involved with all of Kelly’s cases.

It appears the tides are turning for R. Kelly after decades of organizing and sounding the alarm largely by black women. 

The “Ignition” singer has multiple cases against him. 

In February, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Illinois charged Kelly with 10 counts of aggravated criminal abuse which alleges that from 1998 to 2010, Kelly filmed himself engaging in sexual acts with minors. In July, federal prosecutors in New York and Chicago indicted Kelly on 18 charges including child exploitation and violating the Mann Act by coercing and transporting women and girls across state lines for illicit sexual activity or sexual assault. 

Not everyone is convinced of R. Kelly’s guilt. 

While many have joined the #MuteRKelly movement, others remain unconvinced of the singer’s guilt. Kelly’s two girlfriends Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage appeared at the arraignment. They weren’t his only supporters — a group of women, one wearing a “Free R. Kelly” t-shirt, appeared in solidarity outside of the courthouse. 

One of the women, 50-year-old Ruthie Castro, told CNN, “I’ve always supported him for many years,” and remains convinced of his innocence.  

Many believe that Kelly uses his fame and falses promises of stardom to attract young, vulnerable girls only to coerce them into joining a cult-like harem. Kelly’s “mind control” techniques were revealed in a BuzzFeed News exposé, which seemed to further fan the flames of public and legal fury in the singer’s direction. 

In an era where we have a racist reality TV star as President of the United States, it is all the more important we remain critical and ever-scrutinizing of any man with a cult-like personality who adorns himself with young, starstruck women. 

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