Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.
On September 16, Dr. Christine Blasey FordÂ shared her accountÂ publicly for the first time inÂ The Washington Post, saying that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh held her down, covered her mouth with his hand, and attempted to take off her clothing when they were both in high school. She had begun the process of coming forward in July and struggled with the decision, weighingÂ a likely public âannihilationâÂ against what she felt was her duty as a citizen. Unfortunately, she was right to be worried.
In the three days since Ford attached her name and face to her account of sexual assault by Kavanaugh, she has been subjected to a repertoire of horrors that our patriarchal society seems to reserve for women who dare to speak up. Sharing her storyÂ in 2018Â means Ford has received support and encouragement from many, but sheâs also stepped into a cultural moment where media and technology have democratized the spread of information and misinformation like never before — and the attacks against her have been all the more brutal for it.
Since Ford came forward:
- She has faced a series ofÂ failed,Â vicious, andÂ sloppyÂ smear attempts by right-wing media in a rush to destroy her by any means necessary. (And another woman named Christine Ford became aÂ casualty.)
- She has been systematicallyÂ insulted, attacked, andÂ dismissedÂ by cable pundits and public figures.
- She has beenÂ doxxedÂ at least three times online, and Twitter doesnât seem to have done much about it.
- Her email has been hacked, and fake accounts impersonating her have materialized on social media.
- According to aÂ letterÂ her attorneys sent to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), she has received death threats and has had to leave her home as a result.
- She has had toÂ separate herself from her childrenÂ in order to keep them safe.
Again, this list leads to anÂ obvious question: Why would any person who was harmed by a powerful man want to come forward? Ford felt it was her responsibility to society,Â butÂ society has yet to do her the singular justice of aÂ full and independent investigationÂ into what happened.
Header image by Melissa Joskow / Media Matters