The woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of an attempted rape that occurred 35 years ago has a name and an identity:
Christine Blasey Ford.
Actually, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California. A biostatistician, she “specializes in the design and analysis of clinical trials and other forms of intervention evaluation.”
Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.
While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending all three tumbling. She said she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled the house.
There was no police report filed, and she did not tell her parents about the incident, nor anyone else, until 2012 when it came up during couples therapy:
The therapist’s notes, portions of which were provided by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention Kavanaugh’s name but say she reported that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.
Notes from an individual therapy session the following year, when she was being treated for what she says have been long-term effects of the incident, show Ford described a “rape attempt” in her late teens.
Ford’s husband backed up his wife’s claims:
In an interview, her husband, Russell Ford, said that in the 2012 sessions, she recounted being trapped in a room with two drunken boys, one of whom pinned her to a bed, molested her and prevented her from screaming. He said he recalled that his wife used Kavanaugh’s last name and voiced concern that Kavanaugh — then a federal judge — might one day be nominated to the Supreme Court.
Republicans are falling all over themselves not to attack Dr. Ford, although the alt-right in the social media seems to have that angle covered. The GOP did NOT want to have hearings on this, but their hand has been forced, and both Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Ford have been called to testify on Monday.
So far, the GOP does not intend to delay the Kavanaugh vote next weekend, which seems like a very terse “investigation” into the truth or falsity of the allegations.
Brett Kavanaugh released a statement this weekend:
This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes – to her or to anyone.
Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday.
I am wiling to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.
Over the weekend, the Trump team lined about 65 women who attested to Kavanaugh’s good character at the time, which, as many have said, does not negate the fact that he still could have tried to rape someone. It also begs the question as to how 65 women even KNEW Kavanaugh back then, since he attended an all-boy’s prep school.
Ask them to answer these questions with as much detail as is expected from Dr. Ford:
- When did you first meet Kavanaugh?
- How many interactions have you had with him over the years?
- Explain the extent of these interactions.
- When was the last time you had an interaction with BK?
Instead of expecting us to just take their signature as a statement of facts.
Here’s my take: Ford’s story is credible. If she was making it up, she would not put a potential witness in the same room. She would not include comical details (like how the Mark Judge bounced on the bed and sent all three tumbling). The only way this could not be true is if she mis-remembered her attacker, i.e., it was someone other than Kavanaugh.
I don’t think the GOP wants this fight. They want Kavanaugh, but they don’t want to have to attack Dr. Ford. Doing like was done to Anita Hill is out of the question, especially in a #MeToo environment.
Twenty-seven years ago this fall, Anita Hill, came forward, not of her own volition, with claims that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her when they worked together at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Thomas was confirmed to the Court nonetheless, but a wave of angry women ran for office in the wake of Hill’s treatment by the committee, and her story was crucial to establishing “sexual harassment” as a form of gender discrimination. The seeds sown during the Hill hearings have come into full flower in the past two years, as the #MeToo movement erupted following the election of a multiple accused sexual harasser, and angry women jumped into electoral contests around the country.
Republicans don’t want that again. So the best case scenario for Republicans is to have Kavanaugh withdraw his nomination, but that doesn’t seem likely.
A lot of eyes are on the swing vote female Senate Republicans: Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.
I'm writing to the Chairman & RM of Judiciary Cmte respectfully recommending that at Monday’s hearing, counsel for Prof. Ford be allocated time to question Judge Kavanaugh & counsel for the Judge be granted equal time to question Prof. Ford, followed by questions from Senators.— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) September 18, 2018
Various defenses are being floated — like the “horseplay” defense.
Kavanaugh spokesperson/activist says it's not clear that the incident was attempted rape as opposed to just "rough horseplay". pic.twitter.com/cANvVNjFKX— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 18, 2018
The “what women wear” defense (updated and shined for a #MeToo world, but still the same shit)
Kavanaugh’s corroborating witness has literally blamed “what women wear” for “send[ing] signals about their sexuality.”— Zev Karlin-Neumann (@zkarlinn) September 18, 2018
Really seems like someone the Senate should hear from. pic.twitter.com/OE1xGsrcAZ
The “but everyone rapes, amiraite?” defense:
“If the new standard is never having raped anyone, no one will ever be able to serve in the government” said the rapey-sounding man who apparently has never heard of hiring women. pic.twitter.com/0EvyigZexe— The Volatile Mermaid (@OhNoSheTwitnt) September 18, 2018
And the “she’s confused” (a favorite of Senator Orrin Hatch
Orrin Hatch on Anita Hill in 1991, "Her story's too contrived. It's so slick it doesn't compute."— Karine Jean-Pierre (@K_JeanPierre) September 18, 2018
Orrin Hatch on Christine Blasey Ford in 2018, “mixed up” about alleged sexual assault.