Dr. Christine Blasey Ford made a rare public appearance on Wednesday, after captivating the world last fall with her testimony against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. While accepting an award from the Silicon Valley chapter of the YWCA, she explained who inspired her to testify and spoke about the difficulties survivors of sexual violence can face.
“I’m deeply humbled to receive this award,” she said, while speaking at the organization’s annual “Inspire Luncheon” fundraising event, according to a video posted by CBS San Francisco. “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.”
Hill famously alleged in 1991 that Justice Clarence Thomas, then a Supreme Court nominee, had engaged in sexual misconduct. Thomas vehemently denied the allegations.
“I simply thought that it was my duty as a citizen and that anyone in my position would do the same thing,” Blasey Ford said of her decision to come forward. Last fall, she testified that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and groped her over her clothes at a house party in 1982, when Kavanaugh was 17 and Ford was 15. Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.
Blasey Ford also discussed the difficulties other survivors of alleged sexual violence face. “There are many, many people who aren’t as lucky as I am. When my family was forced out of our home last year, we had resources,” Blasey Ford said. “So many women do not. So many women don’t have the privilege that my professional position afforded me.”
“My experience lasted only a few months. Dolores, your entire life is an inspiration,” Blasey Ford said. “Everyone has the power to inspire others. Be courageous, stand strong, be yourself.”
Blasey Ford has only re-entered the public sphere a few times since she testified. She released a statement thanking her supporters on a GoFundMe page collecting donations in November 2018. She also presented Sports Illustrated‘s Inspiration of the Year award to Larry Nassar abuse survivor Rachael Denhollander last December, and was named on Time’s annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people in April.
— YWCA Silicon Valley (@ywcasv) October 30, 2019
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