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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

On September 16, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford shared her account publicly for the first time in 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, weighing a likely public “annihilation” 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 story in 2018 means Ford has received support and encouragement from many, but she’s 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 of failedvicious, and sloppy smear attempts by right-wing media in a rush to destroy her by any means necessary. (And another woman named Christine Ford became a casualty.)
  • She has been systematically insulted, attacked, and dismissed by cable pundits and public figures.
  • She has been doxxed at least three times online, and Twitter doesn’t seem to have done much about it.
  • Her email has been hacked, and fake accounts impersonating her have materialized on social media.
  • According to a letter 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 to separate herself from her children in order to keep them safe.

Again, this list leads to an 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, but society has yet to do her the singular justice of a full and independent investigation into what happened.

Header image by Melissa Joskow / Media Matters