Even as the #MeToo movement has cast light on the permeation of sexual assault and harassment into every part of our society, a backlash of skepticism has been rotting just below the surface.
We saw examples of that refusal to believe survivors—and even hateful attacks toward them—from Republicans in Congress and their allies, in a full-blown attempt to bully and discredit Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and her experience of attempted rape by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Despite this bullying,
despite a hearing rigged against her,
despite the Republicans’ refusal to call other witnesses or reopen the FBI background check,
despite a prosecutor hired to do Republicans’ dirty work for them,
despite death threats,
Dr. Blasey Ford courageously came forward to tell her story and dispel every attack that Republicans lobbed at her.
She shouldn’t have had to subject herself to a prosecution to be believed. Or to have taken a lie detector test. Or discussed her private therapy sessions from years ago. Or to have proven that she first tried to get the truth out before Kavanaugh was even nominated. And like millions of other women who have survived sexual assault, she had no obligation whatsoever to come forward at all—despite men like Senator Lindsey Graham disgustingly saying so.
But she did, and in doing so, with testimony aired live on every national network, she showed the same courage that burns at the heart of the #MeToo movement to change our country. And she showed why we should #BelieveSurvivors.
Watch some of the most powerful moments from the hearing:
- Dr. Blasey Ford in her opening statement: “I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty.”
- Senator Feinstein asked Dr. Blasey Ford: “So what you are telling us is this could not be a case of mistaken identity? Ford’s answer: “Absolutely not.”
- When asked by Senator Leahy about her most vivid memory of the assault, Dr. Ford’s chilling response: “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense.”
- Senator Durbin asked: “Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?” Her answer: “100 percent.”