During Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, people started calling into C-SPAN to share their stories.
A 76-year-old woman told C-SPAN’s Steve Scully that decades ago when she was in second grade, she was sexually molested by an older child at school.
“This brings back so much pain,” she said about the emotional testimony from Ford. She said she thought she had moved on, but “you will never forget it.”
“Now I’m 76 years old, and I thought I was over it until I heard that it’s happened to someone else,” the woman added. “It is just — it is such a shame.”
The woman said on C-SPAN she has a “wonderful” husband and child, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“I have not brought this up for years,” she said, crying. Then, she said, “I heard this testimony, and it is just breaking my heart.”
Several other women also called into C-SPAN, opening up about their personal experiences and showing support for Ford.
One woman told Scully she was sexually assaulted by three men when she was a teenager.
Another said she was 12 when her best friend’s brother molested her at a slumber party.
A 26-year-old woman burst into tears on the phone as she admitted she was sexually assaulted when she was in college.
“It’s 2018,” she said. “The #MeToo movement has happened, and I think we need to come from a perspective of believing women when they come forward with these stories because it’s not an easy thing to do, and I don’t think it’s something that anyone would undertake lightly.”
And yet another woman said she had a similar encounter to the one Ford described — twice. The woman said she finds Ford’s story “credible” and she is “shocked and appalled” by those who do not believe it.
“This same kind of sexual assault happened to me twice in high school in the 1970s — very similar scenario. I lived it,” she said.
She added that Ford “has such integrity, is so honest and she stands nothing to gain by coming out and everything to lose.”
Earlier in the day, Fox News Channel anchor Chris Wallace said on live television that the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh prompted his own daughters to reveal details about their experiences.
During conversations over the past week, he said, “two of my daughters told me stories that I had never heard before about things that happened to them in high school.”
Wallace acknowledged the allegations were not as serious as those against Kavanaugh, but, he said, “the point is that there are teenage girls who don’t tell stories to a lot of people, and then it comes up.”
In the United States, it is estimated that someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds and that a child is victimized every eight minutes, according to statistics from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). On Thursday, the nonprofit organization offered support to survivors via Twitter.
During the hearing, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) told Ford people are “not just feeling your pain, but their own.”