A college professor who had anonymously accused United States Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s has now waived her anonymity to tell her story.
Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, told the Washington Post in an interview published on Sunday that a “stumbling drunk” Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and groped her as his friend watched at a house in suburban Maryland sometime in the early 1980s. They were high school students at the time.
Ford told the newspaper that Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. “I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, who is now a 51-year-old research psychologist. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.” She added that she eventually escaped, locked herself in a bathroom for sometime and then fled the house.
Kavanaugh denied the allegations when they initially surfaced anonymously after Ford detailed them in a letter to her local Congresswoman and then to California Senator Diane Feinstein. “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation, I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” Kavanaugh said.
Ford had initially decided to not go on record with her accusations. “Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” she reportedly said. But after her story leaked and some people such as reporters were learning her identity, she “felt her privacy being chipped away”.
“These are all the ills that I was trying to avoid,” she said. “Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation.”
Kavanaugh is a District of Columbia appeals court judge and served as an advisor to former President George W Bush. Kavanaugh is an ideological conservative who is expected to push the court towards the right on a number of issues including business regulation and national security. In order to be appointed to the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh’s nomination must now be confirmed by the US Senate, which the Republican Party narrowly controls 51-49. A nominee needs a simple majority of 51 votes to be confirmed.
Democrats have called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to postpone its vote until the allegations are investigated, AFP reported. Kavanaugh was questioned by the committee last week. It is due to vote on Thursday on whether his nomination should go forward to a vote in the Senate.
“For too long, when woman have made serious allegations of abuse, they have been ignored. That cannot happen in this case,” Chuck Schumer, who is the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, said. “To railroad a vote now would be an insult to the women of America and the integrity of the Supreme Court.”
A Republican member of the committee had said before Ford’s Washington Post interview that Kavanaugh would be comfortably voted. “They’ve had this stuff for three months. If they were serious about it, they should’ve told us about it,” Louisiana Senator John Kennedy said, adding that the whole process was turning into “an intergalactic freakshow.”