Just over a year after her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh rocked Congress, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has accepted an award for inspiring others.
Dr. Ford put in a rare public appearance at YWCA Silicon Valley, a California-based therapy and crisis support centre, this week to accept the accolade, which honours women in the community who are ambassadors for change.
The psychology professor appeared before Congress last year in order to testify that Kavanaugh had attempted to rape her, in an incident 36 years prior.
She claimed the attorney forced her down on a bed at a house party that they both attended in 1982, when they were teenagers.
He groped her and attempted to remove her clothes while covering her mouth, she said, adding that he only stopped when another man (whom she says had been laughing) intervened.
Kavanaugh angrily denied that an assault took place.
Two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, also accused the supreme court nominee of sexual misconduct (charges Kavanaugh also denies), but Ford was the only woman to agree to testify in public about her alleged experience.
Despite the testimony, Kavanaugh was voted through to the Supreme Court by a narrow 50-48 victory for the Republican-led Trump administration, amid widespread protests on Capitol Hill. The ultra-conservative judge has since been given a prestigious teaching job in the UK, in addition to his role in America’s highest court.
Receiving the award this week, Ford said she was inspired to testify by American lawyer Anita Hill. Hill rose to prominence in 1991, when she testified that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, also her supervisor at the Department of Education, had sexually harassed her.
Like Kavanaugh, the Senate later voted to confirm Thomas as a Supreme Court justice, sparking a bitter political fight that saw his supporters portray Hill as a vengeful and delusional figure.
“I’m deeply humbled to receive this award,” Ford said this week (as reported via The Hill). “It’s funny. I was inspired by Anita Hill when I was deciding whether to testify, but it didn’t occur to me at the time that I would be inspiring anyone else.
“I simply thought that it was my duty as a citizen and that anyone in my position would do the same thing,” she added.