Christine Blasey Ford’s Testimony
Here is a link to Christine Blasey Ford’s prepared statement for delivery at tomorrow’s hearing. Here is the heart of it:
One evening that summer, after a day of swimming at the club, I attended a small gathering at a house in the Chevy Chase/Bethesda area. There were four boys I remember being there: Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, P.J. Smyth, and one other boy whose name I cannot recall. I remember my friend Leland Ingham attending. I do not remember all of the details of how that gathering came together, but like many that summer, it was almost surely a spur of the moment gathering. I truly wish I could provide detailed answers to all of the questions that have been and will be asked about how I got to the party, where it took place, and so forth. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t remember as much as I would like to. But the details about that night that bring me here today are ones I will never forget. They have been seared into my memory and have haunted me episodically as an adult.
When I got to the small gathering, people were drinking beer in a small living room on the first floor of the house. I drank one beer that evening. Brett and Mark were visibly drunk. Early
in the evening, I went up a narrow set of stairs leading from the living room to a second floor to use the bathroom. When I got to the top of the stairs, I was pushed from behind into a bedroom.
I couldn’t see who pushed me. Brett and Mark came into the bedroom and locked the door behind them. There was music already playing in the bedroom. It was turned up louder by either Brett or Mark once we were in the room. I was pushed onto the bed and Brett got on top of me. He began running his hands over my body and grinding his hips into me. I yelled, hoping someone downstairs might hear me, and tried to get away from him, but his weight was heavy. Brett groped
me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was so drunk, and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit under my clothes. I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming.
This was 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. Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They both seemed to be having a good time. Mark was urging Brett on, although at times he told Brett to stop. A couple of times I made eye contact with Mark and thought he might try to help me, but he did not.
During this assault, Mark came over and jumped on the bed twice while Brett was on top of me. The last time he did this, we toppled over and Brett was no longer on top of me. I was able
to get up and run out of the room. Directly across from the bedroom was a small bathroom. I ran inside the bathroom and locked the door. I heard Brett and Mark leave the bedroom laughing and loudly walk down the narrow stairs, pin-balling off the walls on the way down. I waited and when I did not hear them come back up the stairs, I left the bathroom, ran down the stairs, through the living room, and left the house. I remember being on the street and feeling an enormous sense of relief that I had escaped from the house and that Brett and Mark were not coming after me.
Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life. For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone the details. I did not want to tell my parents that I, at age 15, was in a house without any parents present, drinking beer with boys. I tried to convince myself that because Brett did not rape me, I should be able to move on and just pretend that it had never happened.
Over the years, I told very few friends that I had this traumatic experience. I told my husband before we were married that I had experienced a sexual assault. I had never told the details to anyone until May 2012, during a couples counseling session. The reason this came up in counseling is that my husband and I had completed an extensive remodel of our home, and I insisted on a second front door, an idea that he and others disagreed with and could not understand. In explaining why I wanted to have a second front door, I described the assault in detail. I recall saying that the boy who assaulted me could someday be on the U.S. Supreme Court and spoke a bit about his background. My husband recalls that I named my attacker as Brett Kavanaugh.
This is a horrible thing, no question. On the basis of her testimony, she was not drunk (one beer is not enough to give anybody a buzz). She might be telling the truth. She might have been assaulted, but is misidentifying her assailant. Kavanaugh was blind drunk, it seems, according to her testimony; he might have done it, but might not be consciously lying when he denies it.
Kavanaugh and Judge, of course, deny it.
What do we do with this kind of information? Unless something unforeseen emerges, we will not learn more tomorrow than what we now know: that Ford says Kavanaugh assaulted her, and he denies it. He said/she said.
Is that enough to kill his nomination? Partly it depends on how they both conduct themselves tomorrow in front of the cameras. The Washington Post reports on Senate Judiciary committee staffers interviewing Kavanaugh about these charges, including the new ones. Excerpt:
Committee staff asked Kavanaugh question after excruciating question touching on every detail in both Ford’s and Ramirez’s accounts, and Kavanaugh forcefully denied every detail. At times, he sounded affronted and angry about the accusations, describing them as an “orchestrated hit to take me out.”
“It’s not appropriate for people to be dredging up uncorroborated stories and trying to refresh other people’s recollections and then stoke the media and create a feeding frenzy and destroy my family and destroy my reputation and take me down,” he said. “This is not right. It’s an outrage.”
Whatever happened, or did not happen, you have to wonder why anyone would subject themselves to this kind of thing. Who would want their children to watch their reputation destroyed on the national stage? A reader sends in this 2005 story from The New Yorker, which contains this paragraph about Miguel Estrada, and G.W. Bush administration judicial nominee who withdrew his nomination:
For Rove, the most painful example was Miguel Estrada, who had worked in the Solicitor General’s office, and who was Bush’s first appellate-court nominee, in 2001. Estrada withdrew his name twenty-eight months after being nominated. During the confirmation struggle, Estrada’s wife miscarried; in November, 2004, she died, of an overdose of alcohol and sleeping pills. The death was ruled accidental by the medical examiner. Rove said that Mrs. Estrada had been traumatized by the nastiness of the process. Reid told Rove that he empathized with Estrada, but said that the Republicans’ treatment of President Clinton’s nominees—more than sixty were never voted on by the Judiciary Committee—had created victims, too. Rove, according to Reid, replied, “We need to sit down and talk about this,” adding that the ugliness of the confirmation process had reached a new low.