Months after publicly accusing Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her three decades ago, Christine Blasey Ford said that speaking out was “terrifying,” but she knew it was her “civic duty.”
Ford testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in September that Kavanaugh, then a Supreme Court nominee, had sexually assaulted her when the two were teenagers. The explosive accusations raised crucial questions only days before Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote — leading to a special hearing, tearful testimonies and adamant denials. Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Oct. 6.
In a statement on GoFundMe last week, Ford thanked those who stood behind her.
“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfill my civic duty,” she wrote. “Having done so, I am in awe of the many women and men who have written me to share similar life experiences, and now have bravely shared their experience with friends and family, many for the first time. I send you my heartfelt love and support. I wish I could thank each and every one of you individually. Thank you.”
On Wednesday, Ford closed her crowdfunding account, which raised nearly $650,000, saying the donations have been a “godsend.”
She said that the money “allowed us to take reasonable steps to protect ourselves against frightening threats,” including paying for security services for her family and her, as well as a home security system. She said that any unused donations will be given to organizations that support survivors of trauma.
Ford’s attorney said Ford had been receiving death threats.
“Words are not adequate to thank all of you who supported me since I came forward to tell the Senate that I had been sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh,” Ford wrote. “Your tremendous outpouring of support and kind letters have made it possible for us to cope with the immeasurable stress, particularly the disruption to our safety and privacy. Because of your support, I feel hopeful that our lives will return to normal.”
Over the summer, Ford sent a confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker, alleging that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when the two were in high school in the 1980s in suburban Maryland.
But her story spilled out, becoming more and more public.
According to The Washington Post’s Emma Brown, who wrote about Ford and her accusations against the then-Supreme Court nominee:
Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.
While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending all three tumbling. She said she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled the house.
Ford said she told no one of the incident in any detail until 2012, when she was in couples therapy with her husband. The therapist’s notes, portions of which were provided by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention Kavanaugh’s name but say she reported that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.
Notes from an individual therapy session the following year, when she was being treated for what she says have been long-term effects of the incident, show Ford described a “rape attempt” in her late teens.
In October, Ford said that coming forward was “by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, much harder even than I thought it would be.”
She said on the GoFundMe page that it has also been difficult for “my husband and our sons, for my relatives who still live in the Washington area, and the friends who have stood up on my behalf.
“I feel like all of you who have made a contribution are on this journey with me, which is very heartening. And some journey it has been and continues to be.”