Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee, has come under fire over his anti-choice positions, as well as his refusal to answer Senate hearing questions about his record. As his confirmation vote draws near, the woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by the nominee has come forward to tell her story, using her name.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University in California, detailed the alleged assault involving Kavanaugh. Ford describes the incident as having occurred in the early '80s during their high school years. During a party, Ford says that she and Kavanaugh were both drunk. At one point, Kavanaugh allegedly pinned her to a bed, groped her, and forcefully attempted to remove her bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. He pressed his hand against her mouth to silence her when she screamed.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” Ford told the Post. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
The Post said results of a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent, taken in August under the advice of Ford's lawyer, Debra Katz, indicated she was being truthful, and notes from Ford's therapist matched her story. Ford stated that she believes the incident contributed to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. She said following the aftermath she thought, “I’m not ever telling anyone this. This is nothing, it didn’t happen, and he didn’t rape me.” But it left a lasting mark. “I think it derailed me substantially for four or five years,” she said to the Post.
Ford’s husband added, “Supreme Court nominees should be held to a higher standard.”
While Ford initially had no intention of coming forward publicly with her story, she wanted Kavanaugh’s history to be taken into account before a possible appointment to the Supreme Court. She initially reached out to the Post when it was reported that Kavanaugh was on the shortlist for a nomination; she also contacted her congresswoman, Democrat Anna G. Eshoo. In late July, she sent a letter to California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office, the ranking Democrat on the Senate’s judiciary committee. Ford decided to publicly reveal her name and story after outlets including the New Yorker published reports on the incident.
On Friday, Republican Chuck Grassley of the judiciary committee released a letter from 65 women who reportedly knew Kavanaugh during his high school years, claiming that he “has treated women with respect.”
The White House responded to the Post’s story with a statement Kavanaugh released the previous week: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
Refinery29 has reached out to the White House for comment and will update this story as more information becomes available.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).