While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.
"As the story snowballed, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford said, she heard people repeating inaccuracies about her and, with the visits from reporters, felt her privacy being chipped away. Her calculation changed. "These are all the ills that I was trying to avoid," she said, explaining her decision to come forward. "Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation."
Those last six words of her statement are painfully familiar to survivors of sexual assault and to those of us who work on their behalf.
On Friday Anita Hill said, "The reluctance of someone to come forward demonstrates that even in the #MeToo era, it remains incredibly difficult to report harassment, abuse or assault by people in power."
Again and again, we have seen the vilification of women who come forward to share their experiences of violence at the hands of powerful men. Many survivors do not want to make their identities public, because they expect to be excoriated and re-victimized by complete strangers in the media and on Twitter, Facebook, in emails, or in text messages. As victim advocates, we urge the Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as the public in general, to treat Dr. Ford with the respect and consideration she deserves.
We are in solidarity with survivors of sexual assault. Each time we systematically blame victims, it impacts all survivors in their decision to come forward. Survivors throughout our nation are watching.