As Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on the basis that he, along with a man named Mark Judge, sexually assaulted her when she was 15, women survivors called into C-SPAN, which is broadcasting the hearing live, to share their own stories of sexual assault.
C-SPAN took calls from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents as the Senate Judiciary Committee took breaks from its questioning of Ford. During these breaks, callers voiced their support for and their doubts of Ford, and, unexpectedly, discussed their own experiences with sexual assault. Among them, a woman who says she was assaulted in the second grade, another who says she was assaulted when she was 12, and another who says she was assaulted at 19. Many of these women said that Ford's testimony reminded them of their own stories. "I thought I was over this," said the now 76-year-old woman who says she was assaulted in the second grade. "I have not brought this up for years, until I heard this testimony—it's just breaking my heart."
"I find Dr. Ford to be 100 percent credible, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind," said a 65-year-old Democrat who phoned in once Ford's questioning ended. "This same sexual assault happened to me twice in high school, this same scenario—I lived it."
It wasn't only Democrat survivors who told their stories. More than one Republican woman phoned in to discuss their personal history of assault—and also to say that they don't believe Ford. A 65-year-old Republican woman who described being assaulted by three men when she was 17 said, "I thought for sure I wasn't going to be raped." However, she went on to say that she does not find Ford credible because her alleged attack at the hands of Kavanaugh and Judge did not end in rape. "Her feigning like she was going to cry and all that after 36 years is just unbelievable."
Non-profit anti-sexual abuse organization RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) has also received an increase in calls today. "The queue on the hotline is longer than a standard day," RAINN press secretary Sara McGovern tells Broadly.
If you need someone to talk to about an experience with sexual abuse you can call the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network's hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673), where trained staff can provide you with support, information, advice, or a referral.