Read the Opening Statements of the U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Who's Being Accused of Sexual Harassment and His Accuser
On September 27, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, will be questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee during a public hearing. Both will be allowed to give opening remarks, which have already been made available.
In Dr. Ford's remarks, she writes, "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." She also goes on to say that while she does not remember every detail from the day Kavanaugh assaulted her, she does remember the details of the actual assault. She goes on describe the same incident she told the Washington Post when she first came forward: Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge pushed her into a room at a party, where Kavanaugh got on top of her, groped her, and put his hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming. She was eventually able to escape and ran out of the house.
She also talked about the impact of the assault, writing, "Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life. For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone the details. I did not want to tell my parents that I, at age 15, was in a house without any parents present, drinking beer with boys. 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... 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."
Ford also described how she struggled to decide whether she should share her assault with the Senate: "As the hearing date got closer, I struggled with a terrible 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 Mr. Kavanaugh’s nomination without knowing the full truth about his past behavior?" She reiterated that after her name was made public, her family has been the target of death threats and harassment.
You can read her full remarks below:
Thank you, chairman Grassley and ranking member Feinstein, members of the committee, my name is Christine Blasey Ford. I'm a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine. I won't detail my educational background since it has already been summarized. I have been married to Russell Ford since 2002 and we have two children. 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.
I have described the events publicly before. I summarized them in my letter to ranking member Feinstein and again in a letter to chairman Grassley. I understand and appreciate the importance of your hearing from me directly about what happened to me and the impact that it has had on my life and family. I grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. I attended the school in Bethesda, Maryland from 1978 to 1984. Holton Arms is an
This is how I met Brett Kavanaugh, the boy who
One evening that summer after a day of diving at the club, I attended a small gathering at a house in the Bethesda area. There were four boys I remember specifically being at the house -- Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, a boy named PJ, and one other boy whose name I cannot recall. I also remember my friend Leland attending. I do not remember all of the details of how that gathering came together, but like many that summer, it was almost surely a spur of the moment gathering. I truly wish I could be more helpful with more detailed answers to all of the questions that have and will be asked about how I got to the party and where it took place and so forth. I don't have all the answers and I don't remember as much as I would like to. But the details that -- about that night that bring me here today are the ones I will never forget. They have been seared into my memory and have haunted me episodically as an adult. When I got to the small gathering, people were drinking beer in a small living room family room type area on the first floor of the house.
I drank one beer. Brett and Mark were visibly drunk. Early in the evening, I went up a very narrow set of stairs leading from the living room to a second floor to use the restroom. When I got to the top of the stairs, I was pushed from behind into a bedroom across from the bathroom. I couldn't see who pushed me. Brett and Mark came into the bedroom and locked the door behind them. There was music playing in the bedroom. It was turned up louder by either Brett or Mark once we went into the room. I was pushed on the bed and Brett got on top of me and he began running his hands over my body and grinding into me. I yelled, hoping that someone downstairs might hear me and I tried to get away from him, but his weight was heavy. Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes.
He had a hard time because he was very inebriated and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit underneath my clothing. 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 yelling. This is 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. Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They seemed to be having a very good time. Mark seemed ambivalent at times urging Brett on and at times telling him to stop. A couple of times I made eye contact with Mark and thought he might try to help me, but he did not.
I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone these details. I did not want to tell my parents that I at age 15 was in a house without any parents present drinking beer with boys. I convinced myself that because Brett did not rape me, I should just move on and just pretend that it didn't happen. Over the years, I told very, 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 never told the details to anyone, the specific details, until may of 2012 during a couple's counseling session. The reason this came up in counseling is that my husband and I had completed a very extensive, very long 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 a second front door, I became to describe 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 at an elitist
Over the years, I went through periods where I thought about the attack. I had confided in close friends I had an experience with sexual assault. Occasionally I stated my assailant was a prominent lawyer or judge but I did not use
On July 6th, I had a sense of urgency to relay the information to the
On July 9th, I received a return phone call from the office of
In a letter cited August 31st,
I agonized daily with this decision throughout August and September of 2018. The sense of duty that originally motivated me to reach out confidentially to The Washington Post and to Anna Eshoo's office when still a list of extremely qualified candidates and to Senator Feinstein was always there. But my fears of the consequences of speaking out started to exponentially increase. During August 2018, the press reported that Mr. Kavanaugh's confirmation was virtually certain. The persons painted him as a champion of women's rights and empowerment. I believed that if I came forward, my single voice would be drowned out by a chorus of powerful supporters. By the time of the confirmation hearings, I had resigned myself to remaining quiet and letting the committee and the
Once the press started reporting on the existence of the letter I had sent to
Thousands and thousands of people who have had their lives dramatically altered by sexual violence have reached out to share their experience and have thanked me for coming forward. We have received tremendous support from our friends and our at the same time, my greatest fears have been realized and the reality has been far worse than what I expected.
My family and I have been the target of constant harassment and death threats and I have been called the
Since September 16th, my family and I have been visiting in various secure locals, at times separated and-- at times together with the help of security guards. This past Tuesday evening my work e-mail was hacked and messages were sent out trying to recant my description of the sexual assault. Apart from the assault itself,
I have been accused of acting out of partisan political motives. Those who say that do not know me. I am an independent person and I am no one's pawn. My motivation in coming forward was to be helpful and to provide facts about how Mr. Kavanaugh's actions have damaged my life so that you could take into a series consideration as you make your decision about how to proceed.
It is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr. Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the supreme my responsibility is to tell you the truth. I understand that a professional prosecutor has been hired to ask me questions and I'm committed to doing my very best to answer them. I have never been questioned by a prosecutor and I will do my best. At the same time, because the committee members will be judging my credibility, I do hope to be able to engage directly with each of you and at this point, I will do my best to answer your questions. And I request some caffeine.
In Kavanaugh's opening remarks, he completely denies the accusation, as well as other accusations that have come to light in the last few days, including those from Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. He writes, "Over the past few days, other false and uncorroborated accusations have been aired. There has been a frenzy to come up with something—anything, no matter how far-fetched or odious—that will block a vote on my nomination. These are last-minute smears, pure and simple."
He also defends his actions in high school, saying that while he did drink, his actions never amounted to assault: "I spent most of my time in high school focused on academics, sports, church, and service. But I was not perfect in those days, just as I am not perfect today. I drank beer with my friends, usually on weekends. Sometimes I had too many. In retrospect, I said and did things in high school that
You can read his full remarks here.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.