Dr Christine Blasey Ford, one of the women who has accused United States Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, on Thursday testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Ford told the committee that she decided to testify because she felt it was her civic duty to do so. “I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified,” she said according to The Guardian.
“Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes,” she said, describing the day Kavanaugh allegedly tried to rape her in high school. “He had a hard time because he was so drunk. I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming. This was what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life.” Ford said she felt Kavanaugh might accidentally kill her.
“Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life,” Ford told the panel. “For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone the details...I convinced myself that because Brett did not rape me, I should be able to move on and just pretend that it had never happened. I told my husband before we were married that I had experienced a sexual assault. I had never told the details to anyone until May 2012.”
“My husband recalls that I named my attacker as Brett Kavanaugh,” she continued. “After that May 2012 therapy session, I did my best to suppress memories of the assault because recounting the details caused me to relive the experience...Occasionally I stated that my assailant was a prominent lawyer or judge but I did not use his name.”
Ford said she received a call from the office of Congresswoman Anna Eshoo in July after Kavanaugh was nominated to the top court. She said she met Eshoo that month, and Eshoo sent a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office that month. “The letter included my name, but requested that the letter be kept confidential,” she added.
Ford said that in the weeks leading up to Thursday’s hearing, she struggled with a choice: “Do I share the facts with the Senate and put myself and my family in the public spotlight? Or do I preserve our privacy and allow the Senate to make its decision on Kavanaugh’s nomination without knowing the full truth about his past behaviour? I agonised daily with this decision.”
“His allies painted him as a champion of women’s rights and empowerment,” she added. “I believed that if I came forward, my voice would be drowned out by a chorus of powerful supporters.”
“My motivation in coming forward was to provide the facts about how Kavanaugh’s actions have damaged my life, so that you can take that into serious consideration as you make your decision about how to proceed,” she concluded.
When Democrat Senator Dick Durbin asked her with what degree of certainty she believed Kavanaugh assaulted her, Ford replied: “100%.” When Senator Feinstein asked her earlier if she was sure this was not a case of “mistaken identity”, she had replied, “Absolutely not.”
Another senator, Patrick Leahy, asked her what her most vivid memory of the assault was. To this, Ford replied it was the “uproarious laughter” of Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge, who was also allegedly present at the time. “And them having fun at my expense,” she said.
“They were laughing with each other,” she said. “Two friends having a really good time with one another.”
Meanwhile, another woman on Wednesday accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Julie Swetnick, a resident of Washington DC, said she was gangraped in 1982 at a party, according to her declaration tweeted by her lawyer Michael Avenatti. Earlier, Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by two other women, including Ford.
The Supreme Court nominee has denied all accusations.