As I write, people on both sides of the Atlantic (and both sides of the argument) are on tenterhooks, awaiting the Senate's final vote on Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court following an FBI report into Ford’s allegations against him. For one camp, his being accepted will signal that all is right with the world; that the grown-ups remain in charge. For this same camp, his rejection from the position would mean that a reality they understand is crumbling; that an injustice has triumphed over their vision of success.
But for those opposing Kavanaugh, the same result would represent progress, on a nationwide scale; it would be a victory for women everywhere, for those who live in fear of men like him – and of coming forwards when those fears are realised, as Ford has done. If he’s confirmed (and he might have been, by the time you read this) it will signify a battle lost in a war to win. For the millions of women his appointment will impact, Brett Kavanaugh is more than a man: he’s The Man, propped up by a system almost too huge to see clearly. Amidst the headlines and hysteria, it’s easy to forget that we’re talking about one man, and one girl at one party, more than three decades ago. For Ford, Kavanaugh is the man who assaulted her when she was 15 years old – and that story, nursed in secret for years, is now in circulation around the world and subject to forensic attention and argument.