A Means to an End: The FBI’s Failure to Investigate Brett Kavanaugh Highlights Double Standard in the Way the Bureau Pursues Sex Crimes

Law enforcement is inconsistent in both how they investigate sex crimes and who they choose to investigate.  This inconsistency is often purposeful, and woefully apparent as the Senators tasked with confirming Brett Kavanaugh are overwhelmingly aligned with the interests of the evangelical right.

I know this inconsistency first hand because I was sexually assaulted four years ago by a prominent environmental activist. When the FBI became interested in my abuser, the FBI used my story and their professed sympathy with the #MeToo movement to try to gain my trust. The agent told me that she cared about how women were treated and said she wanted to seek justice because of my story.  However, it quickly became apparent that the agent’s concern for me was disingenuous.

Over the course of several months,  the FBI agent called me repeatedly offering to help me by investigating potential criminal charges against the man who sexually assaulted me four years ago.  As reported in The Intercept, it was clear the FBI never intended to investigate the sexual assault allegations or bring criminal charges against my abuser. They were harassing me, preying on my desire for accountability, and misappropriating the #MeToo movement for their own agenda to get information on the activist that was unrelated to my assault.

The Republican Senators and Trump administration publicly stating that investigating the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh is not really something that the FBI does is a punch in the gut to all sexual assault survivors. President Trump has the statutory authority to ask the FBI to begin an investigation immediately.  Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee can recommend to the President that he ask the FBI to investigate the allegations —in fact in 1991 then Senator Joe Biden did just that when he asked then President George HW Bush to call on the FBI to investigate the allegations against Clarence Thomas. Moreover, Maryland State Police currently have the authority to investigate the allegations against Kavanaugh, as Maryland has no statute of limitations on the prosecution of attempted rape charges. However, today partisan leaders on capitol hill care more about advancing this president’s nominee, and taking away women’s reproductive autonomy, than they do about investigating serious allegations levied against a man tasked with overseeing the highest court in the land. Their base, the evangelical right, is more concerned about taking away women’s reproductive autonomy than finding out whether a potential supreme court justice sexually violated at least two women and may have been present for the rape of a third woman.  I have seen little “morality” from the people who used to claim to be the “moral majority.”

The FBI not investigating Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh confirms that the men currently in power have little interest in holding powerful men accountable for the crimes they commit against women.

If the FBI really did care about the #MeToo movement, as they stated to me, then they would investigate Dr. Ford, Ms. Ramirez, and Mrs. Swetnick’s allegations.  If they have the resources to harass a sexual assault survivor like myself for several months, they have the time, resources, and capability to investigate these women’s claims.  

It seems tragically fitting that a group of Republican men—with at least one, Mr. Trump, having been accused of sexual assault himself—stand in the way of investigating men’s sexual violence against women. Their main goal in this confirmation is to appoint someone who will  harm women by curtailing their (and my) reproductive rights.

One thing is clear, over a month ago Dr. Christine Blasey Ford requested to have the FBI investigate her allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. This hasn’t happened. But when it comes to someone the FBI wants information on, they use the #metoo movement as a guise to turn informants.  For the powerful men the state wants to protect, that’s not the FBI’s role. For the rest of us, we are just a means to an end.

Julie Henry is a biologist, conservationist, and co-founder of Saving Wild Sumatra. She is also a survivor.