Christine Blasey Ford Made These Important Points During Her Senate Testimony
The first woman who came forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh made several heartbreaking statements on Thursday morning. Christine Blasey Ford's points from her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee highlighted how the alleged assault has impacted her life for nearly 40 years and what motivated her to make her allegations public.
Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school, a claim he has categorically denied. She repeated her allegation during the hearing, as well as answered questions from committee members and an outside prosecutor hired by Republican leaders specifically to question her. Kavanaugh was scheduled to testify after Ford on Thursday.
While Ford read her opening statement, her voice broke as she went into detail about her allegation against Kavanaugh. She described the various threats she's received since coming forward, refuted claims that her allegations are a partisan ploy, and told the committee's members that she would try her best to answer all of their questions.
Her quotes not only offer a glimpse into her thoughts and memories, but also shine a light on the courage it took for her to testify before the committee and the nation in an open hearing.
"I Am Terrified"
At the start of her opening statement, Ford said:
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.
Certain Details Are "Seared" Into Her Memory
Also in her opening statement, Ford discussed her memory of the alleged event, saying:
I truly wish I could provide detailed answers to all of the questions that have been and will be asked about how I got to the party, 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 about that night that bring me here today are ones I will never forget. They have been seared into my memory and have haunted me episodically as an adult.
Her Strongest Memory Of The Alleged Assault
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy asked Ford what she remembered the most about the night of her alleged assault. Ford responded:
Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense. ... I was underneath one of them while the two laughed. Two friends having a really good time with one another.
She Feared For Her Life
Ford discussed Kavanaugh's alleged attacked on her and how scared she was. "I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me," she said.
Ford Explained Why Others Would Remember The Night Differently
Near the end of her testimony, Rachel Mitchell, a prosecutor Republicans had ask questions for them, asked why the people she said were present at the party would say they didn't remember that specific gathering. Ford responded:
I don't expect that P.J. and Leland would remember this evening. It was an unremarkable party. It wasn't a more notorious party. Because nothing remarkable happened to them that evening. They were downstairs.
She's Had To Relive Her Trauma
In her opening statement, Ford spoke about the personal toll this process has taken on her. She said:
Apart from the assault itself, these last couple of weeks have been the hardest of my life. I have had to relive my trauma in front of the entire world, and have seen my life picked apart by people on television, in the media, and in this body who have never met me or spoken with me.
Sen. Cory Booker Asked How Her Family Was Handling The Hearing
Throughout the hearing, Ford was accommodating to the Democratic senators' and Mitchell's questions, which included smiling at jokes, apologizing for her lack of specific memory in some cases, and responding respectfully to everything.
This was clear when Sen. Cory Booker asked how her family was doing under the pressure. Without getting into details, Ford said, with a light smile, "They're doing fairly well — considering."
She Refuted Claims Of Partisanship
Responding to rumors that she came forward as a Democratic tool to derail his nomination, in her statement, she said, "Those who say that do not know me. I am a fiercely independent person and I am no one's pawn."
She Testified "To Tell The Truth"
In concluding her opening statement, Ford explained what was supposed to be her role in the hearing, saying, "It is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr. Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court. My responsibility is to tell the truth."
Ford Explained How She Remembers Her Story
When asked by Mitchell how she was so sure that it was Kavanaugh who allegedly assaulted her, Ford put her psychology expertise to use.
"Just basic memory functions," she said, "and also just the level of norepinephrine and the epinephrine in the brain that as you know encodes that neurotransmitter that codes memories into the hippocampus and so the trauma-related experience is locked there whereas other details kind of drift."
She Wishes There Was More Collaboration
Sen. Booker gave an impassioned speech in which he described Ford as "heroic." After explaining the ways he believed she embodied that word, Booker laid out how the process could have been different, including with bringing in witnesses and an FBI investigation. Finally, Booker asked Ford how she feels that more could have been done to have a thorough investigation into her allegations.
"I wish that I could be more helpful and that others could be more helpful and that we could collaborate in a way that would get at more information," Ford said.
The professor sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee for hours on Thursday taking questions from senators from both parties, appearing on the verge of tears at various points.
"History will show you are a true profile in courage," Sen. Kamala Harris said.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.