Less than two weeks after coming forward as the first of a growing list of women who have accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, a somber and emotional Dr. Christine Blasey Ford made her first public appearance on Thursday, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in gut-wrenching detail about the alleged incident and how it affected her life.
In her statement, which she reportedly wrote herself, Ford described her alleged assault, in which she claims Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge drunkenly pushed her into a room during a house party while the pair were in high school. There, she says, Kavanaugh forced her down, and attempted to take her clothing off while covering her mouth to prevent her from screaming. (Kavanaugh has denied the allegations completely.)
Ford’s allegations are well-known by now, but they were given heartbreaking, powerful new strength by her public testimony. Her voice wavering but never breaking, she went painstakingly through what she described as a life-altering, traumatic event.
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One example she gave about the fallout from the alleged incident:
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.
Ford’s appearance before the committee had not always been a sure thing. Since coming forward with her claims against Kavanaugh, she and her attorney have worked to ensure the conditions of her testimony would both protect her, and provide her a reasonable opportunity to share her experience. Senate Republicans, however, have treated her appearance as an opportunity to attack her recollection and motivation for coming forward. Rather than question Ford themselves, they hired an Arizona sex crimes prosecutor to speak for them.
Ford told the committee that since coming forward with her allegations, her life has been turned upside down—a fear, she claims, that initially prevented her from publicly accusing Kavanaugh in the first place.
“These last couple of weeks have been the hardest of my life,” Ford said. “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.”
But she also defended herself from people accusing her of being part of a partisan game to derail Kavanaugh.
“I am a fiercely independent person and I am no one’s pawn. My motivation in coming forward was to provide the facts about how Mr. 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 said.
Watch the full statement here: