After death threats, the speculation about her motives and the rallies both for and against her, Christine Blasey Ford spoke for herself Thursday.
An emotional Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee – and millions of television viewers – that she’s “100 percent” certain she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh decades ago.
Ford described what happened to her at a party in 1982 with Kavanaugh as “the boy who sexually assaulted me.” “Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes,” Ford said. She testified that she was pinned to a bed by Kavanaugh as he tried to stop her from screaming by covering her mouth with his hand, making it hard for her to breathe.
Ford believed he was going to rape her and thought he might accidentally kill her.
Ford said her strongest memory of the incident is the “uproarious laughter” of Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, who she said was also in the room.
“They were having fun at my expense,” she said. “I was underneath one of them while the two laughed.”
Asked by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., how certain she is that Kavanaugh assaulted her, Ford replied: “100 percent.”
“I am here today not because I want to be,” she said, her voice breaking. “I am terrified.”
The 51-year-old psychology professor had entered the walnut-paneled Senate committee room mid-morning – the culmination of what she’s called the hardest weeks of her life.
“After I read my opening statement, I anticipate needing some caffeine,” she said.
Wearing a navy blue suit and glasses, Ford had turned and waved to supporters sitting behind her after taking her seat at the witness table.
The mother of two, who later told the semi-circle of senators that she’s “no one’s pawn,” stoically faced Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley as he opened the hearing.
“I want to apologize to you both for the way you’ve been treated and I intend hopefully for today’s hearing to be safe comfortable and dignified for both of our witnesses,” Grassley, R-Iowa, said to both Ford and the absent Kavanaugh.