Christine Blasey Ford: 'I Was Not Prepared For The Venom, The Persistent Attacks, The Vilification'
It's been more than a year since Christine Blasey Ford testified against Brett Kavanaugh during his successful bid to become a Supreme Court justice.
Accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they both were teenagers in suburban Maryland led to death threats for Ford, now a professor at Palo Alto University.
On Sunday night, she made a rare public speech at a Beverly Hills awards dinner for the ACLU of Southern California. What follows are excerpts from her remarks:
She did not feel brave testifying.
[W]hen I came forward last September, I did not feel courageous. I was simply doing my duty as a citizen, providing information to the Senate that I believed would be relevant to the Supreme Court nomination process. I thought anyone in my position, of course, would do the same thing. I had the example of Anita Hill. I had the values instilled in me by my parents and growing up in Washington, D.C. I had a responsibility to my country, to my fellow citizens, to my students, to my children to live the values that I tried to teach them.
The backlash was worse than she expected.
I understood that not everyone would welcome my information and I was prepared for a variety of outcomes, including being dismissed. I was not prepared for the venom, the persistent attacks, the vilification, the loss of personal privacy and the collateral damage to my friends and my family. I was not prepared to be physically threatened or to be forced out of our home for over three months. I have learned a lot over the past year. I have learned that there is a well-financed attack machine out there ready to flood the Internet and the media anytime I raise my head. And I know it's not going to go away. I've also continued to learn that the ethical promise to sexual assault survivors to do no further harm is easily ignored by journalists who selectively abstract, meaningless details that are twisted and weaponized against me.
Thousands have reached out to Ford with their own stories.
I am thankful that sharing my experience prompted over 200,000 people from across our country and around the world to send messages of support -- many handwritten, sharing their own stories of assault and abuse. That's why it means so much to me, not just to be recognized by you tonight, but because I know that you will continue the work of protecting sexual assault survivors and preventing sexual assault. You will continue the work. To protect personal privacy and the rights of citizens. My voice was just one voice. You are many. We are many.
The importance of supporting those who "come forward to support our country."
[I]t's not just survivors that we have to stand up for. It's all of those who come forward to support our country. Ambassador (Marie) Yovanovitch, all of the men and women who bravely come forward.They come forward to tell the truth and to help our country. They might also be vilified and they need to hear our voices of support also. Two years ago, Colin Kaepernick at this event said, 'We all have an obligation, no matter the risk and regardless of the reward stand up for fellow men and women. He quoted Frederick Douglass saying, 'If there is no struggle, there is no progress.'
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