Dr. Christine Blasey Ford appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday morning to testify against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, reliving her traumatic sexual assault before millions of Americans.
Visibly shaken, during her opening statement, Ford described in excruciating detail what happened at a suburban Maryland home in the summer of 1982.
“I was pushed on the bed and Brett got on top of me and he began running his hands over my body and grinding into me. I yelled, hoping that someone downstairs might hear me and I tried to get away from him, but his weight was heavy,” Ford said. “This is what terrified me the most and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.”
“I am here today not because I want to be,” she added. “I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”
After and during Ford’s opening statement, women flooded social media with messages of support and solidarity:
I will never in my life do anything this courageous and you probably won’t either
— Brandy Jensen (@BrandyLJensen) September 27, 2018
Dr. Ford’s need for coffee is so damn relatable. After telling the world about your assault, you’re just trying to survive again. #BelieveSurvivors
— Andrea L. Pino #BelieveSurvivors (@andreactually) September 27, 2018
This woman is reliving a decades long horror so that we don't give this man the keys to millions of women's bodies. The weight of it is incredible.
— Beth Newell (@bethnew) September 27, 2018
I'm in tears. Reliving all my trauma while she relives hers. I'm so sorry you have to do this Dr. Ford. #BelieveSurvivors
— Ida V. Eskamani (@ida_v_e) September 27, 2018
"Does that work for you as well? I'm used to being collegial."
All of this is devastating.
— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) September 27, 2018
Every woman I am in contact with is sobbing right now.
— Irin Carmon (@irin) September 27, 2018
“two friends having a really good time with one another” is truly exactly what happened to me in high school. Exactly.
— Helen Holmes (@helenbholmes) September 27, 2018
Hundreds of women also protested in the Hart Senate building, gathered together to listen to the testimony.
protester weeping as she watches this hearing. incredibly powerful pic.twitter.com/3f21y45983
— libby watson (@libbycwatson) September 27, 2018
Female politicians including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) both attended the hearing, offering their support for Ford.
In the audience, tears streaming down the face of Rep Carolyn Maloney D-NY as she listens to Ford pic.twitter.com/nIezV2CW6N
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) September 27, 2018
Absent from Thursday’s hearing were Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnik, two women who recently came forward with their own stories of sexual assault or misconduct allegedly perpetrated by Brett Kavanaugh.
Ramirez has claimed Kavanaugh thrust his penis in her face during a party in college, when the two were students at Yale. Swetnick, in a sworn affidavit this week, claimed Kavanaugh was present at a party in high school where she was allegedly drugged and gang-raped. She did not directly implicate Kavanaugh in the assault but claimed he was part of a group of boys who would allegedly drug female classmates or spike their drinks before attacking them.
Mark Judge, a man both Swetnik and Ford have said was in attendance the day of their assaults, was also noticeably absent. Despite suggestions that Judge be subpoenaed to give his own testimony of the alleged assaults the Senate Judiciary Committee has so far declined to do so.
A confirmation vote for Kavanaugh is scheduled for Friday.