Christine Blasey Ford has decided she no longer wants to stay anonymous. The professor at Palo Alto University has been watching in horror over the last few days as the basic details of a confidential letter she wrote alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s when they were both high school students became public. Her name had not been revealed but she feared it was only a matter of time as reporters had started to approach her and ask her colleagues about her. So she decided to come forward and speak to the Washington Post, noting that everything she wanted to avoid regarding her loss of privacy now seemed inevitable and she wanted to take control of her own story. “These are all the ills that I was trying to avoid,” she told the Washington Post. “Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation.”
Ford recounted the incident in the early 1980s—she believes it was the summer of 1982 but doesn’t remember the exact date—when Kavanaugh and a friend, both of whom were “stumbling drunk” pushed her into a bedroom and then on a bed while they were at a house party. She says Kavanaugh held her down and prevented her from moving as he tried to take off her clothes and put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. “I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist, said. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.” Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, were both laughing “maniacally,” Ford said. She was finally able to escape when Judge jumped on them. Ford hasn’t spoken to Kavanaugh since that night and didn’t actually tell anyone about what happened in any detail until 2012 during a couples therapy session with her husband.
The Post reviewed therapist notes from that session as well as from an individual therapy session the following year. In that session, Ford described the assault as a “rape attempt.” Her husband, Russel Ford, says he recalls that his wife used Kavanaugh’s name in the 2012 couples therapy session and even that she expressed concern he could one day be nominated to the Supreme Court. When she started weighing whether to come forward after Kavanaugh’s nomination, a Washington lawyer advised her to take a polygraph test, which she did in early August. The test results, which were shared with the Post, concluded she was being truthful.
Judge didn’t respond to the Post but in an interview Friday vehemently denied the incident occurred. “It’s just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way,” Judge said. But Judge has written about his recovery from alcoholism in a book, which included tales about how he got drunk with his friends in high school. Although Kavanugh is never mentioned in the book, there is a mention of a “Bart O’Kavanaugh,” who “puked in someone’s car the other night” and “passed out on his way back from a party.”
Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the claims and did not comment further after Ford’s name became public. “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” he said.
Support work like this for just $1
Slate is covering the stories that matter to you. Become a Slate Plus member to support our work. Your first month is only $1.