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What We Learned from Christine Blasey Ford’s Testimony

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While testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford said she was “100 percent” certain that Brett Kavanaugh was the man who had assaulted at 15 years of age.

Like Anita Hill 27 years before her, Ford had to convince a group of mostly male legislators that she was credible in describing an unwanted sexual advance of a well-respected U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

She recounted how the enduring recollection she has from the incident was of Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, laughing as they stumbled down the stairs after the alleged attack. She said she was hiding in a bathroom meanwhile, waiting to escape.

“They were having fun at my expense,” she said. “I was underneath one of them while the two laughed.”

Ford said she believed Kavanaugh was going to rape her if not for her one-piece bathing suit under her clothing. As he covered her mouth with his hand to prevent her from screaming, she testified that she thought he might accidentally kill her.

Some people online said Ford’s testimony moved them tears, but actress Alyssa Milano, invited by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), felt she had to be there. “I felt like I needed to be here to show solidarity and my support to Dr. Ford for this day that surely will be incredibly difficult for her,” she told reporters.

Milano, who triggered the #MeToo movement online, sat a few rows behind the front seat. She sat intensely listening two testimony from both parties, afterward tweeting her support for Ford.

Alyssa Milano at Ford hearing

 

Feinstein, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, in her opening statement lamented how women are “re-victimized” when they bring sexual assault accusations. “Our institutions have not progressed in how they treat women who come forward,” she said. “In essence, they are put on trial and forced to defend themselves.”

Questions from senators came in five-minute increments, alternating between Democratic senators, who spoke directly to Ford, and veteran sex-crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, a surrogate questioner for Republican senators.

During his subsequent testimony, Kavanaugh said he had calendars that verify he wasn’t in town for the majority of weekends in the summer of 1982. “But I have never done this to her or to anyone,” he added. “That’s not who I am. It is not who I was. I am innocent of this charge.”

After nine hours of testimony on Thursday and one of at least three women who have accused him of sexual assault testifying, what we have learned is not much more about either person. In fact, it seems even senators have decided that they need to know more, argeeing on Friday to a new FBI probe of Kavanaugh.

 

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