Why did she wait? Why didn’t she leave? We’ve heard it all before. In the Sept. 17 front-page article “Accuser of Kavanaugh comes forward,” The Post reported on Christine Blasey Ford’s confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, when they both were at a high school party in suburban Maryland. The courage it takes for a survivor to speak out publicly, to acknowledge the pain of sexual assault or domestic abuse, can, in fact, take decades.
Ms. Ford is a role model for every woman and girl who, right now, is suffering in silence, thinking she is alone. In this very newspaper, on July 23, 1999, I revealed that I was a survivor of domestic violence. It took everything in me to do that. I made good on a promise I made to myself when I left my abuser in 1985. When I could, I would go public, so others could see it was possible to leave and tell your story. Nonetheless, I kept my protective order in my purse, afraid that one day he would show up and finish the job he started. He is now deceased. I breathe easier. The remarkable bravery shown by Ms. Ford is to be applauded. If nothing else, we can all say “I believe you.” That, in fact, is a great start.
Cheryl Kravitz, Silver Spring
The writer is a board member of the Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation and the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.
Ruth Marcus’s Sept. 17 op-ed, “The Senate’s duty now on Kavanaugh,” was based, at least in part, on her experience covering the confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas. Ms. Marcus’s call for due process and the “Byrd Test” means the Senate should at least give Christine Blasey Ford the opportunity to tell her story to the court of public opinion. The reputations of the Senate, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court are all on the line.
As a close friend and character witness for Ms. Hill back in 1991, I counseled her from the beginning to follow her conscience and be prepared for the worst. For whatever it is worth, if asked, I would give Ms. Ford the same advice.
Twenty-seven years later, the Senate still owes Ms. Hill an apology. The Ford/Kavanaugh hearings could serve that purpose and also be a desperately needed institutional shot of redemption, integrity and fairness. If nothing else, it could send a message to the next generation of young boys and girls, and set a precedent in the Senate on how to handle issues of this import before us once again.
Keith Henderson, Washington
Regarding Kathleen Parker’s Sept. 16 op-ed, “Last-minute accusations won’t doom Kavanaugh”:
Ms. Parker wrote that Democrats lead the Republicans in “a race to outdo the other in bad form” with regard to Supreme Court confirmation hearings and that a “lower point is hard to imagine.”
I would suggest looking to the not-so-distant past when Republicans prevented a duly nominated candidate to the Supreme Court — Merrick Garland — from even having a hearing. I can’t imagine a lower point than that.
Ms. Parker also failed to note that Republicans have refused to provide both the time and the materials to allow for a fair and considered review of Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination. I agree there has been a lamentable breakdown in the Supreme Court nomination process, but the notion that the way to resolve it is by rallying around Mr. Kavanaugh’s rushed nomination is absurd.
Abigail Marshall, Chevy Chase
As news broke of alleged inappropriate behavior by Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanugh some 30 years ago, there have been comments by high-profile individuals (including Donald Trump Jr.) making light of it, and some that don’t place doubt on it, necessarily, but lessen it by saying what he stands accused of took place decades ago.
Yes, for a lifetime position on our highest court, if found true, something that occurred 30 years ago does matter. While it is true people can change, and that they may have been in their “teenage years,” how do we set an example to our children that this is not tolerated, and their behavior now will set the tone for their future — even 30 years from now?
Young people already bore witness to the president saying unflattering and insulting things about women — including on tape — and, yet, being elected president. Now is the time to make sure our younger generations see that time is irrelevant and that behavior matters.
Jason Denby, Washington