#MeToo Goes to Washington: Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Tells the US Senate What It Means to Be A Victi
"It is not my responsibility to determine if Brett Kavanaugh will sit on the Supreme Court. It is my responsibility to tell you the truth." - Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
Christine Blasey Ford prepares to testify before the US Senate Judicial Committee. Photo Source: Twitter
#MeToo Goes To Washington
All eyes are watching today as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee about an alleged sexual assault instigated by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at a house party in the summer of 1982.
The move comes 27 years after the testimony of Anita Hill—who testified in front of an all male Senate committee—accused Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas of sexual impropriety. In sprite of Hill’s testimony Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court. Ironically, it’s also two days after the conviction of Bill Cosby, previously referred to by many as “America’s Dad,” to three to ten years in prison for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand.
Twenty-seven years ago, Anita Hill testified before the Senate to share her account of alleged sexual impropriety by then Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas.
Plenty of people are watching today to see if Kavanaugh’s nomination will have an outcome similar to that of the Anita Hill story; others are observing whether today’s judiciary hearing will have its own #MeToo moment, and ultimately deter Kavanaugh from being confirmed to the Supreme Court.
Blasey began her testimony by saying she was “terrified,” and is sharing her story publicly because she believes it is her “civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.” Blasey Ford describes her attack in a written statement, describing in detail what happened to her and its effects on her.
"It's Important for Me to Describe My Assault In My Own Words"
Ford describes being pushed into a bedroom by an assailant she couldn’t see, then watching Kavanaugh and party attendee Mark Judge enter the room lock the door behind them. Ford was pushed onto the bed, and listened as the music already playing in the room was turned up louder, presumably so that no one could hear what was about to transpire.
Christine Blasey Ford begins testifying before US Senate Judiciary Committee, noting that "I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school."
It was then that, Blasey Ford describes, Kavanaugh got on top of her and proceeded to sexually molest her. Blasey Ford recounts most vividly that “I believed he was going to rape me. 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. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.”
At one point in her testimony, Blasey Ford describes the need for a second front door in her home to manage the “anxiety, phobia, claustrophobia, panic and PTSD” she grapples with daily as a result of the assault. She also mentioned that in the years following the alleged attack, she “had a very hard time forming new friendships” and “struggled academically” while in college.
“I tried to convince myself that because Brett did not rape me, I should be able to move on and just pretend that it had never happened. Over the years, I told very few friends that I had this traumatic experience. 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, during a couples counseling session. The reason this came up in counseling is that my husband and I had completed an extensive remodel of our home, and I insisted on a second front door, an idea that he and others disagreed with and could not understand. In explaining why I wanted to have a second front door, I described the assault in detail. I recall saying that the boy who assaulted me could someday be on the U.S. Supreme Court and spoke a bit about his background. My husband recalls that I named my attacker as Brett Kavanaugh.”
He Said/She Said
Awash in the light of the #MeToo movement, Blasey Ford’s testimony is eliciting a host of responses. On behalf of her attorney John Clune, Debby Ramirez, a former classmate of Kavanaugh at Yale, who is identified as the second woman to come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh, issued a statement of support for Blasey Ford, saying that “they want us to feel alone and isolated, but I’m there wrapping my arms around you.” Journalist and author Sulome Anderson adds, “Sending love to every woman who has ever felt a man's hand over her mouth to stop her screaming.
But not everyone is ready to jump on Blasey Ford’s support bandwagon. Says Tony Katz, morning news host and podcaster, “Blasey Ford does not know who drove her home, and has not been contacted by anyone who drove her home. That’s an issue for her allegation.” In agreement with this position is The Daily Wire host Michael “Beto” Knowles, who says “Ford now is ‘not sure’ whether or not—less than eight weeks ago—she gave the Washington Post reporter the therapy record that constitutes the closest thing even resembling evidence that she has. Apparently Ford's short-term memory is no better than her long-term memory.”
Kavanaugh is also scheduled to testify today before the Senate Judiciary Committee; he is not scheduled to be present during Blasey Ford’s testimony.
LISTEN: Following embattled judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the US Supreme Court, She-Compass discusses what's next for women. Listen to our podcast "How To Maintain a Strong Sisterhood in a World Divided By Politics." Also available on #iTunes and #Stitcher.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley provided an summation of today’s events in his opening statement, noting that today’s testimonials and the events leading up to it have been a trying experience for all Americans. “What they have endured ought to be considered by all of us as unacceptable and a poor reflection on the state of civility in our democracy,” he says. “I want to apologize to you both for the way you’ve been treated and I intend hopefully for today’s hearing to be safe, comfortable and dignified for both of our witnesses.”