In September, Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault while the two were in high school — an allegation he denies — gave her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee prior to Kavanaugh's confirmation. It was an intense moment, both for Ford herself by her own admission, and for the myriad Americans who watched her emotional testimony. After her testimony, which was followed by Kavanaugh's confirmation, Ford hadn't made any further public remarks. But as of Dec. 11, that's changed, and Christine Blasey Ford's first appearance after the Kavanaugh hearing was so fitting. It's honestly perfect.
Ford found a reason to speak to the public on Tuesday, Dec. 11, for the first time since appearing at Kavanaugh's hearing. In a video tweeted out by Sports Illustrated, she presented Rachael Denhollander with Sports Illustrated’s Inspiration of the Year Award. Denhollander was the first of hundreds of women to come forward and accuse Larry Nassar, her former gymnastics doctor, of sexual assault, according to NBC News. In the video, Ford says she "admires" Denhollander for having the "courage to talk publicly to stop the abuse of others," adding that "her courage inspired other survivors." Ford said in the video,
I am honored to speak with you from afar about a woman I admire so much, a woman who suffered abuse as a vulnerable teenage athlete, who found the courage to talk publicly to stop the abuse of others. Her courage inspired other survivors to end their silence, and we all know the result ... We all have the power to create real change, and we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by the acts of others.
Denhollander brought a federal lawsuit against Nassar at the U.S. District Court for the Western District for Michigan earlier this year. Her suit sparked other survivors to come forward, and by the end, more than 300 women said they had been assaulted by Nassar, according to Sports Illustrated. In January 2018, Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years on Michigan state charges of sexual assault, followed the next week by another sentence of 40 to 125 years in prison on three other counts of sexual assault in a separate trial. On top of that, he was also slapped with a 60-year sentence on federal charges of child pornography. The three sentences combined were an effective life sentence for the 54-year-old Nassar.
It's fitting that Ford was the one to present Denhollander with the award because she has the shared experience of coming forward and testifying in court. Back in September, in a letter shared with Congress, Ford accused Kavanaugh of allegedly trapping her in a room during a party they both attended in high school, where Kavanaugh allegedly pinned her down on the bed and tried to remove her clothes. Kavanuagh denied the accusation, calling it "completely false." Elite Daily reached out to representatives of Kavanaugh for further comment but did not hear back. Following Ford's allegation, the Senate Judiciary Committee invited her to testify in open court on Sept. 27.
"I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified," Ford said in court. She then detailed the events of how she initially met Kavanaugh and the details of the alleged assault. "I believed he was going to rape me," said Ford.
The last time Ford spoke publicly was before a court to share her story. So, it's perfect that her first public remarks following that emotional court appearance are to honor a fellow survivor who had to do the same. And it's not without weight — after she went public with her allegations, Ford was the subject of death threats that drove her out of her home and prompted her family to hire private security. In late November, she announced that a GoFundMe set up to help her family deal with the response had been shut down, and any funds that were left over after paying for her security would be used to support victims of trauma.
Keep being brave, ladies. Clearly, you've got support.