The Slatest

Christine Blasey Ford’s Opening Statement in Senate Hearing Describes Alleged Kavanaugh Assault and the Trauma That Remains

Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein and Chairman Charles Grassley during Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing September 6, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein and Chairman Charles Grassley during Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing September 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ahead of her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford’s prepared opening statement was released Wednesday night. “I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified,” Ford begins. “I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.” Ford, now a psychology professor in California, gives more context for the night in question and her relationship with Kavanaugh, as well as the ongoing personal struggles, she says, are the result of the sexual assault in 1982.

Ford says while she was a student at Holton-Arms, an all-girls school in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, she and her classmates socialized with students from nearby schools, including the all-boys Georgetown Prep, where Kavanaugh was a student. “This is how I met Brett Kavanaugh, the boy who sexually assaulted me,” the testimony reads. Ford then goes on to explain in detail the night in question:

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…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.

Ford also outlines why she stayed quiet at the time of the incident, the people she’s told since, and the extreme impact that night has had, and continues to have, on her life:

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.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning with Ford testifying first, which will include her opening statement followed by a round of five minutes of questioning from each senator.