Christine Blasey Ford, the 51-year-old research psychologist who accused Supreme Court judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a teen party in the 1980s, came forward Tuesday night to offer a rare public statement since her life was upended in September.
In a videotaped statement, Ford presented former gymnast Rachael Denhollander — the first woman to publicly accuse disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexual assaulting her when she was a teenager — with Sports Illustrated’s “Inspiration of the Year” award.
“In stepping forward, you took a huge risk and you galvanized future generations to come forward, even when the odds are seemingly stacked against them,” Ford said in the video addressing Denhollander. “The lasting lesson is that we all have the power to create real change, and we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by the acts of others."
Denhollander, who is from Michigan, was 15 when Nassar began abusing her. After she came forward in 2016, hundreds of women said they, too, had been sexually assault by Nassar. The sports physician, who also worked for Michigan State University, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison in January 2018.
Ford hadn’t spoken publicly since Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, when she detailed allegations that Kavanaugh once pinned her to a bed, groped her over her clothing and muffled her screams at a social gathering when she was 15 and he was 17. In early October, her attorneys said she’d been the victim of unending death threats and harassment. At that time, her family was unable to live at home.
"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," Ford said in the pre-taped statement about Dehollander. "Her courage inspired other survivors to end their silence, and we all know the result."
Cover image: Christine Blasey Ford testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)