During the hearing on Thursday to review sexual assault allegations made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, accuser Christine Blasey Ford explained why she had waited to come forward with her account. Many critics have attempted to discredit Ford by painting the timing of her decision to make her allegation public as opportunistic and partisan.
In a statement to investigators, which Rachel Mitchell, special counsel for the Republicans, referred to during the hearing, Ford claims that on July 6, she “had a sense of urgency to relay the information [of the assault] to the Senate and the president.” When asked if she had made any attempts to reach them on that date, Ford replied that she didn’t know how. At that point, Kavanaugh had not been named as the nominee, but he was on President Trump’s shortlist.
After weighing her options, Ford says that she decided to pursue her “civic duty” and called the office of her congresswoman, California Rep. Anna Eshoo. Ford also said that she put in an anonymous tip to the Washington Post. Neither the paper nor the congresswoman got back to her before Kavanaugh’s nomination was made public.
Three days later, on July 9, President Trump announced that he had selected Kavanaugh from his list of 25 “highly qualified” potential nominees. It was on that date that Eshoo’s office contacted Ford. The next day, Ford again tried to contact the Washington Post via an encrypted messaging service. The Post got her in touch with a reporter, Emma Brown, who would eventually be the first to publish Ford’s identity on Sept. 16.
On July 18, Ford met with Eshoo’s staff and then with the congresswoman a couple days later, during which time she described the incident and her fears about confidentiality. Then, on July 30, Ford sent a letter to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein about her allegations and asked to remain anonymous. Feinstein and Ford spoke over the phone shortly thereafter.
The Intercept reported on the existence of the letter on Sept. 12. At that point, Ford’s identity was still not known to the public, but she says that reporters began hounding her at her workplace. This led her to believe that her identity would eventually be leaked, and so she decided to come forward through a Washington Post story. Ford has subsequently received death threats, and she and her family were forced to move out of her house for their safety.
It was this decision to come forward and publicly identify herself that eventually led to Thursday’s hearing.