I serve on the board of Wasatch Forensic Nurses, the organization in Salt Lake and Utah counties that performs most of the forensic exams when someone reports being sexually assaulted. Forensic exams are performed by nurses with extensive training and experience in trauma care and evidence collection.
During WFN board meetings, we discuss various organization matters, including the number of individuals served by our team of nurses. At our last meeting, we reviewed the #MeToo movement and its history since the term was coined in 2006. In October 2017, actress Ashley Judd asserted that producer Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed her. This was followed by allegations against Kevin Spacey, Olympics team doctor Lawrence Nassar and others. Even the rich and powerful were being held accountable.
In October 2017, 84 individuals were treated by our nurses. That was the largest number of individuals served by our nurses in a single month since WFN was founded in 2001.
One year later, we witnessed the contentious Kavanaugh hearings. On Oct. 6, 2018, Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate, amid blistering allegations that Christine Blasey Ford was lying and was motivated only by politics. In October 2018, only 57 individuals were served by our nurses. This was the smallest number of individuals treated by our nurses in a single month this year.
It is reasonable to wonder whether a consequence of the Kavanaugh confirmation is that sexual assault victims have concluded, once again, that they will be humiliated and disbelieved should they decide to report. If so, this is tragic.
Ken Roach, Salt Lake City