There comes a point in every woman’s life when she has to decide what she stands for. The five female Republican Senators face such a moment now.

As their male colleagues have demonstrated how little they have learned since the debacle of the Clarence Thomas hearings nearly three decades ago, these women senators have an opportunity to stand with women and against the shameful treatment of Christine Blasey Ford by their male colleagues. Trapped in a past that aggressively silenced the cries of abused women by attacking them as liars, loons or, as Orrin Hatch called Ford, “mixed up,” the male GOP members have made clear they have no interest in changing. They are addicted to the patriarchy.

If more women held positions of power in the GOP Senate caucus — or if the women senators flexed their muscles more aggressively — the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh would never have gotten so out of control. It never should have gotten this far. It was clear Ford was a reliable witness to anyone with any sense, and yet Republicans went on a smear campaign against her, attacking her for not being able to remember the exact date or location of the assault, even though it happened thirty-six years ago.