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Christine Blasey Ford, a memory expert, says she remembers who attacked her just fine

“I was underneath one of them while the two laughed. Two friends having a really good time with one another.”

by Carter Sherman
Sep 27 2018, 5:21pm

Christine Blasey Ford might not remember all the details of the day she says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, but she’s positive about at least one thing.

“With what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?” Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy asked Ford Thursday, during Ford’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegation that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her, and covered her mouth at a high school gathering in the 1980s.

“100 percent,” Ford replied.

In the lead up to the hearing, conservatives have repeatedly suggested that Ford might be confused about the identity of the man who attacked her. Kavanaugh himself plans to say as much in his planned remarks later Thursday. “I am not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time,” he will tell senators, according to a copy of his remarks. “But I have never done that to her or to anyone.”

Read: GOP-appointed prosecutor attempts to discredit Christine Blasey Ford by proving she’s been on a plane

Democrats sought to pick apart that claim, asking Ford repeatedly about how she knew it was Kavanaugh who allegedly attacked her. At one point, Ford answered, "The same way that I'm sure that I'm talking to you right now, just basic memory functions.”

Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona prosecutor questioning Ford on behalf of the all-male Republican majority, was also interested in Mitchell’s memory. But Mitchell wanted to know more about the exact details of the day of the attack, from how loud the music may or may not have been, to the exact route Ford may have taken home from the gathering and whether anyone drove her home.

Mitchell skipped over asking for details about the attack itself.

Read: Watch Christine Blasey Ford's powerful testimony about her alleged assault by Brett Kavanaugh

She did ask Ford multiple times whether she needed to “correct” anything about her past accounts of the alleged attack. Ford said there may have been more than four people at the gathering, and that a person she initially described to a Washington Post reporter as a “bystander” was not in fact in the room during the alleged attack.

The tone between the two was fairly warm, with Mitchell repeatedly smiling at Ford, sometimes even cracking jokes, and Ford seeming eager to help. Ford also repeatedly drew from her own work, as a psychology professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, to explain — with an almost expert witness-like distance — to senators how the brain can form memories of trauma and how that trauma can follow a sexual violence survivor throughout their life.

When Leahy asked Ford what she remembered most from the night, Ford said, “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter.”

“They were laughing with each other,” she went on. “I was underneath one of them while the two laughed. Two friends having a really good time with one another.”

Cover: Christine Blasey Ford testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27, 2018. (Photos by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images and Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)