California professor Christine Blasey Ford came forward Sunday as the woman who wrote an anonymous letter outlining her alleged assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh—and women are thanking her for her bravery.
“I am so sorry this woman was outed without consent. I’m sorry for what she endured as a teenager. And thank her for her bravery stepping forward,” Monica Lewinsky tweeted.
Ford sent a letter to her Congressional representative, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and contacted a tip line at The Washington Post this summer. She told both how she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh back in high school, when they were both teenagers, saying he held her down at a party.
Kavanaugh has flatly denied that the assault occurred: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
Ford did not initially want to reveal her identity in connection with the allegation and only came forward in a Washington Post story published Sunday after it was clear her identity would be leaked. Reporters who knew who she was started asking her to talk—and the details of her case were getting muddled as the story spilled into the news, she says.
“These are all the ills that I was trying to avoid,” Ford said about her identity becoming public. “Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation.”
According to the Post, Ford told her husband and a therapist about the assault years before Kavanaugh was close to a Supreme Court nomination. She passed a polygraph test about the allegations at the advice of her lawyer in August.
“It took a lot of courage for Christine Blasey Ford to come forward to share her story of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh. Her story is very credible and I believe her,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D–Hawaii) tweeted.
“Christine Blasey Ford courageously stepped forward to tell her story — it is a credible and serious allegation. The Senate has a constitutional responsibility to scrutinize SCOTUS nominees. A vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination must be delayed until there is a thorough investigation,” Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Cali.) tweeted.
The National Women’s Law Center issued a statement saying that the Senate has an opportunity to “get it right this time and not repeat the wrongs done to Anita Hill in 1991.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Thursday.
“It’s disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations from more than 35 years ago, during high school, would surface on the eve of a committee vote,” Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans said in a statement Sunday. The statement also referenced the letter signed by 65 women who knew Kavanaugh in high school attesting to his character.
“It raises a lot of questions about Democrats’ tactics and motives to bring this to the rest of the committee’s attention only now,” the statement said.