As allegations of a high school sexual assault threaten Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation, attacks against the judge’s accuser have also ramped up.
Over the weekend, The Washington Post reported California research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford’s account of a violent encounter with Kavanaugh in the early 1980s when both were students at elite Washington D.C.-area high schools. The revelation has thrown a significant obstacle in Kavanaugh’s path to the high court. The confrontation is likely to peak when both the nominee and his accuser testify before the Senate on Monday.
In the meantime, conservative media outlets and Trump administration operatives have gone into overdrive questioning Ford’s reliability and motives, while a chorus of Kavanaugh supporters has extolled the nominee’s sterling character.
On Monday night, Ford’s own supporters, from her past and present, rallied to her side.
Hundreds of friends and acquaintances from Ford’s professional and personal orbits added their names to a pair of letters of support for the 51-year-old. One of the letters came from some of Ford’s schoolmates from the 1984 class at Holton-Arms School, the private high school in Bethesda, which she attended at the time of the alleged assault. The second was written by “colleagues, current and former students, and mentors” from Ford’s work as a clinical psychologist.
“More than 200 of her colleagues, students and mentors signed this letter in less six hours,” Sarah Adler and Debra Safer, organizers behind the second letter, told The Washington Post in an email early Tuesday morning. “To us, this speaks for itself. They rallied around Christine because she is a highly respected, moral, and well-loved part of our community.”
Seventeen former students from Holton-Arms attached their names to a letter (full text below) addressed to Congress and dated Sept. 17.
“[Ford’s] decision to provide information pertaining to a sexual assault is not a partisan act,” Ford’s classmates said. “It is an act of civic duty and the experience she described in her letter needs to be seriously considered.”
The signatories of the Holton-Arms letter say they “represent all political parties” yet still “support Christine bringing this matter forward.”
“Christine has had to weigh the personal cost of sharing her experience against her own conscience,” the letter states. “We recognize that this has been an extraordinarily difficult decision and admire her courage for being willing to speak her truth when it would have been easier to stay silent.”
As The Post previously reported, a separate letter of support for Holton-Arms graduates from all years supporting Ford had garnered at least 200 signatures by Monday, including that of actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
The second letter (full text also below) from Monday, signed by professional colleagues and co-workers, had notched more than 200 names going into Tuesday. The text directly challenges the narratives being thrown at Ford — alleged political bias; the decades-long delay in making the allegations — to impugn her character.
“We are writing in the hopes that Dr. Blasey Ford’s voice is not dismissed as someone who is ‘politically motivated,’ or because ‘she did not report it earlier,’ or because she initially decided to speak anonymously, or for any other of the multitude of reasons victims of sexual assault are often silenced or silence themselves,” the letter stated. “We feel compelled to use our voice, the voice of those who know her, to communicate our full support, and to attest to her character and integrity.”
The letter continued: “She spoke out because she felt morally compelled to provide additional data on the character and moral code of a man who may be determining our citizens’ futures for his lifetime. This is Christine Blasey Ford the scientist, the biostatistician, the teacher. It is her dedication to the data and creating the fullest and most balanced picture that has led her to be a highly respected colleague and mentor.”
Full text of the Holton-Arms letter:
To the United States Congress:
We, of the Holton Arms Class of 1984, are writing on behalf of our friend and classmate, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, to attest to her honesty, integrity, and intelligence; and to contend that her decision to provide information pertaining to a sexual assault is not a partisan act. It is an act of civic duty and the experience she described in her letter needs to be seriously considered. We represent all political parties and we support Christine bringing this matter forward.
Christine has had to weigh the personal cost of sharing her experience against her own conscience. We recognize that this has been an extraordinarily difficult decision and admire her courage for being willing to speak her truth when it would have been easier to stay silent.
As sexual assault violates a woman’s most fundamental rights, it must be considered a failure of character at any age — regardless of the subsequent accomplishments and power attained by the offender. It should not be dismissed as youthful bad judgment, however aberrant it may be.
In light of Christine’s experience, we hold our elected officials responsible for conducting a more thorough and comprehensive review of this Supreme Court nominee. Having taken this courageous step, Christine deserves your due consideration on this serious matter.
We stand with our friend Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and admire her honesty and resolve on behalf of our nation.
Allyson Abrams Bergman, Amy Englehardt, Andrea K. Evers, Holly Huelsman Fuller, Sandra Engle Gichner, Daphne Holt, Francine Laden, Monica McLean, Samantha Semerad Guerry, Estela M. Radan, Martha Mispireta Shannon, Lisa Shapiro, Laura Simms Smith, Dana Stewart, M. Sydney Trattner, Virginia White, Stacey Kavounis Wilson
Full text of the letter from colleagues
To Whom It May Concern:
We are writing as private citizens to communicate our unequivocal support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. We are her colleagues, current and former students, and mentors: those who can attest to her integrity as a professional and as a person.
We are writing in the hopes that Dr. Blasey Ford’s voice is not dismissed as someone who is “politically motivated,” or because “she did not report it earlier,” or because she initially decided to speak anonymously, or for any other of the multitude of reasons victims of sexual assault are often silenced or silence themselves. We feel compelled to use our voice, the voice of those who know her, to communicate our full support, and to attest to her character and integrity.
Dr. Blasey Ford has put herself in the crossfire of a national debate, which is no small act. Her family and her life will be scrutinized. Her integrity will be questioned. She spoke out because she felt morally compelled to provide additional data on the character and moral code of a man who may be determining our citizens’ futures for his lifetime. This is Christine Blasey Ford the scientist, the biostatistician, the teacher. It is her dedication to the data and creating the fullest and most balanced picture that has led her to be a highly respected colleague and mentor.
We are now living in a time in history where we are beginning to do better by giving space to those voices that are less powerful. By coming forward, Dr. Blasey Ford has spoken for men and women in this country whose voices have been silenced. It is our turn to rally around her brave and selfless act, made simply because her moral code dictates that we must have all of the information before coming to conclusions. It is our responsibility to continue in this effort and speak up to support her.
We implore those who read this and hear others trying to silence Dr. Blasey Ford’s voice, by way of character attacks, to stop and listen to what she has to say. We know her and know that she is of the highest moral fortitude, but for those of you who do not we have written this letter to explain why we believe she should be given the space to speak. We have a duty to protect brave voices who are seeking to shed light on the truth. Otherwise democracy fails.
Debra Safer, M.D.; Sarah Adler, Psy.D.; David Spiegel, M.D.; Helena Kraemer, Ph.D.; Timothy J. Avery, Psy.D. (U.S. Navy/OIF Veteran); Chloe Koeffler, M.S.; Diana Corwin Gordon, Psy.D.; Nancy A. Haug, Ph.D.; Kalen Erickson-Moreo, Psy.D.; Cara Bohon, Ph.D.; Lynda Vaterlaus, Psy.D.; Bruce Arnow, Ph.D.; Douglas S. Rait, Ph.D.; Boris Heifets, M.D., Ph.D.; Sophie de Figueiredo, Psy.D.; Jamie Kent, Ph.D.; Rachel Kitazono, Psy.D.; Julia Hoffman, Psy.D.; Linda G. Sattler, Psy.D.; Micaela Birt, Psy.D.; Joanne Chan, Psy.D.; Xiaolong Li, Psy.D.; Douglas F. Levinson, M.D.; Samantha Buchman, Psy.D.; Cheryl Koopman, Ph.D.; Nicholas T. Bott, Psy.D.; Douglas Noordsy, M.D.; Robert M. Holaway, Ph.D.; Lizette Aguirre-Giron, Psy.D.; Emma Salzman, Psy.D.; Catherine Naclerio, Psy.D.; Erin Heinemeyer, Psy.D.; Shashank V. Joshi, M.D.; Priyanka Doshi, Psy.D.; Elizabeth Goodman Gurfien, Psy.D.; Cydney Shindel, Psy.D.; Carolyn Rodriguez, M.D.; Ph.D., Aaron J. Fisher, Ph.D.; Lilya Osipov, Ph.D.; Lisa Schievelbein, Psy.D.; Inna Markus Leiter, Psy.D.; Carolina Borges Knight, Psy.D.; Jennifer Brysacz, Psy.D.; Kathryn Woicicki, Psy.D.; Booil Jo, Ph.D.; Joanna Sletten, M.S.; Peter Aston, M.S.; Hower Kwon, M.D.; Shokooh Miry, Psy.D.; Nishita Agarwal, Psy.D.; Kristen Lohse, Psy.D.; Katherine Taylor, Psy.D.; Jennifer Douglas, Ph.D.; Peter Aston, M.S.; Meredith L. Van Tine, Psy.D., J.D.; Steve Smith, Ph.D.; Regina Koepp, Psy.D., ABPP; William Chan; Kimberly Hill, Ph.D.; Adam Miner, Psy.D.; Nolan Williams, M.D.; Emily Hugo, Psy.D.; Catherine Marino, Psy.D.; Rebecca Goodman; Jessica Nagel; Ellen Spurgeon; Pardis Khosravi, Psy.D.; Kayla Jimenez; Rociel Martinez, Psy.D.; Elisabeth Cordell; Talia Kori; Rachel Weiler, M.Sc.; Alisha Saxena, M.A.; Lian Bloch, Ph.D.; Lynn Waelde, Ph.D.; Aimee Zhang; Amanda S. Vaught, Psy.D.; Rebecca Rothberg, M.A.; Lisa W. Hill, Psy.D.; Anne Allclair, Psy.D.; Caroline Lavoie, Psy.D.; Alina Kurland, Psy.D.; Melissa O’Donnell, Psy.D.; Jennifer Bielenberg, Psy.D.; Ty Canning, Psy.D.; Martina Glenn; Rosemary Hodges, M.S.; Adrienne Bronfeld; Eric Lee, Psy.D.; Melina Foden; Shannon Frank-Richter; Sasha Guillory, M.A.; Iris Hsiao-Jung Lin, Psy.D.; Monica Allen; Nicole Riddle, Psy.D.; Kate Hardy, Clin.Psych.D.; Caroline Dickens; Lauren Callahan; Patrick MacLeamy, Psy.D.; Kristin LaCross, Psy.D.; Chaniga Vorasarun, Psy.D.; Kate Corcoran, Ph.D.; Elizabeth Solomon, Psy.D.; Dustin Kieschnick, M.S. (USMC/OIF Veteran); Melissa Yanovitch, MSc., Psy.D.; Jennifer B. MacLeamy, Psy.D.; Celia Liu, Psy.D.; Geeta Patangay; Keith D. Sudheimer, Ph.D.; Anneliese Radke, Psy.D.; Allison Thompson, Ph.D.; Julia Birt; Erin Margolis, Psy.D.; Katy H. Stimpson; Peter Cellarius; Oxana Palesh, Ph.D., M.P.H.; Alexis Moore; Daniel Ryu, M.S.; Joseph W. Walling, M.S.; Gayla Margolin, Ph.D.; Maggie Wang, M.A.; Corinne Heimer, Psy.D.; Vivian Oberling, Psy.D.; Caroline Wilkes, Psy.D.; Danielle Schultz, M.A.; Kirk Vandergrift; Meghan Goulet; Louiza Livschitz, M.S.; Lianne Salcido, M.S.; Lindsay Wakayama, M.S.; Yasmin Akbari; Sharon A. Humphrey, Psy.D.; Omar Bravo; Jason Tinero, M.S.; Alaina Baker; Meghan Bhagat, M.S.; Jennifer Stewart; Stacy Chiang, J.D., M.S.; Joyce Cheng; Talya Vogel, M.S.; Emily Nauman; Denise Coquia, M.S.; Louiza Livschitz, M.S.; Shelby Scott Lazarow, M.A., M.S.; Maya Sztainer, M.S.; Sarah Lustiger; Elizabeth Michael, M.Sc.; Marissa Sia, M.A.; Aliza Goldberg; Emily Felber; Laura Pratchett, Psy.D.; Bryna Cooper; Samara Shanker, M.A.; Cheng Qian, Ed.M.; Hannah Ellerkamp; Scott Huckaby, Psy.D.; Jessica Delman, Psy.D.; Anaid Atasuntseva, M.S.; Mai Karitani Manchanda, Psy.D.; Andres A. Ruiz, M.S.; Anna Consla, Psy.D.; Pascale Stemmle, Psy.D.; Jakkz Raines, Psy.D.; Sarah Burton, Psy.D.; Zach Rosenberg, M.S.; Alena Lee, M.S.; Eliza Kienitz, Psy.D.; Chloe Russell, M.S., M.S.Ed.; Katie Flanagan, M.S.; Nicole Kramer-Lange, M.S., M.A.; Alison Alderdice, Psy.D.; Mira Kaufman; Ariane Olsen, M.A.; Chelsea Acker, M.S.; Alix Simonson; Melanie Fox, M.S.; E. Megan Goodwin, Psy.D.; Amanda Mahnke, M.S.; Irene Chui, Psy.D.; Adeline Bortz; Lisa Baldini, M.S.; Emily Pereira, M.S.; Elizabeth Cameron, M.S.; Steffanie Tinsley, M.A., M.S.; Kimberly Wilson, Ph.D.; Melissa McMullin, Psy.D.; Dan Batiuchok, Psy.D.; Chaniga Vorasarun, Psy.D.; Patricia Gisbert, Psy.D.; Cristin Runfola, Ph.D.; Raquel Osorno, Psy.D.; Theresa Brown; Yvette Rico, M.S.; Elise Gibbs, Psy.D.; Julia Yasser, M.S.; Malin Kimoto, Psy.D.
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