Within the past week, Christine Blasey Ford has become a household name. Last week Ford, a research psychologist, came forward and announced that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school, and that she believes that people should know the truth about Kavanaugh.
Immediately after she came forward, she began to receive an enormous amount of backlash, primarily from people on the right side of the political spectrum who support Kavanaugh. Despite the number of death threats and hate that Ford has received, on Saturday her lawyers announced that she is officially willing to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and recount the traumatizing events.
Ford originally expressed her concern regarding Kavanaugh’s nomination through a letter, which eventually got leaked to the media last week. In the letter, Ford recounts a house party that she attended in Maryland in 1982 where Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her while attempting to remove her clothes, all while stifling her mouth to keep her from screaming. Ford says someone else entered the room and jumped on Kavanaugh. Ford told the Washington Post, “I thought he might inadvertently kill me. He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
Ford, who is now a professor at Palo Alto University, was hesitant to testify at first, as a result of all of the hate that Ford received, which eventually led her to have to take herself and her family into hiding. After little cooperation from the committee, Ford was given a few days to decide if she would testify or not. The details are still being arranged between the committee and Ford’s attorney, but Ford has agreed to testify in the near future.
Unfortunately, many people are drawing parallels from this case to Anita Hill’s testimony in 1991 against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Although this case was almost 30 years ago, there are many similarities between Hill and Ford.
During Hill’s testimony, she was asked a multitude of personal and graphic questions while being broadcast to the entire country. She was forced to describe a traumatic experience many times while having to relive the worst details. Even after testifying, she still faced backlash and many people questioned her story.
Joe Biden, who was the leading Democrat on the committee questioning Hill, spoke about the Hill case in December 2017, where he said he would apologize to Hill today and say, “I’m sorry I couldn’t have stopped the kind of attacks that came to you.” Even with an apology, Biden is still heavily criticized for how he treated Hill during the testimony, forcing her to repeat graphic details over and over.
While there are many similarities between the Hill case and Ford’s, people are hoping that history will not repeat itself. While it is frustrating that 30 years later it seems like the movement against sexual assault hasn’t moved forward at all, Ford’s case is also coming to light in the middle of the #MeToo movement, where thousands of women just like Ford are coming forward with similar stories.
The #MeToo movement is all about empowering people who have been assaulted, and the fact that Ford was willing to come forward against Kavanaugh is inspiring many other women to come forward with their assault stories. In spirit of the #MeToo movement, women everywhere are supporting Ford on her bravery throughout the situation and will continue to fight for her case.