Christine Blasey Ford has spoken out about the threats she’s received and what she plans to do next to help others.
For many women all over the world, Dr Christine Blasey Ford’s courage over the past few months has been incredibly encouraging.
On Thursday 27 September, the therapist took to the stand to accuse then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in the early Eighties. She described being trapped in a dark bedroom at a high school party, as a then-teenage Brett Kavanaugh and a friend sexually assaulted her. Her overriding memory of the night was of him pressing his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams, as they both laughed riotously.
Sadly, Ford’s testimony did not prevent Kavanaugh’s confirmation as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. And, writing on her GoFundMe page, she’s admitted that, while she is glad she has served her “civic duty”, the ordeal was “terrifying”. Indeed, since taking the stand, Ford has received countless death threats, and has been forced to move houses four times. She has not been able to resume her teaching at Palo Alto University. But, thankfully, the money donated to her public page has helped to pay for hired security to protect her family.
“Your tremendous outpouring of support and kind letters have made it possible for us to cope with the immeasurable stress, particularly the disruption to our safety and privacy,” she writes. “Because of your support, I feel hopeful that our lives will return to normal.”
Now, though, Ford wants to help others.
After surpassing a goal of $150,000 (£118,000) by amassing a total of $650,000 (£510,000), Blasey Ford has made the decision to stop accepting further donations. Instead “all funds unused after completion of security expenditures will be donated to organisations that support trauma survivors,” which she is currently researching.
“Having done so, I am in awe of the many women and men who have written me to share similar life experiences, and now have bravely shared their experience with friends and family, many for the first time,” she writes.
“I send you my heartfelt love and support.”
The story echoes that of BBC journalist Carrie Gracie, who made the decision to help other women fighting the gender pay gap after publishing an open letter accusing the BBC of harvesting a “secretive and illegal pay culture”.
The former BBC China Editor received an apology and a payout from the broadcaster, which she donated to charity.
In June, the BBC apologised for underpaying Gracie and acknowledged the “specific circumstances” relating to her appointment in China, which it said had “now put right”. In a joint statement, the two sides said: “The BBC and Carrie Gracie have reached an agreement to resolve their differences.”