Christine Blasey Ford said Thursday she’s “100 percent” certain that Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh is the person who sexually assaulted her at a high school party, rejecting suggestions of mistaken identity or faulty memory 36 years later.
Her voice cracked with emotion during her opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, when she described the social circuit in Montgomery County, Maryland, where she “met Brett Kavanaugh, the boy who sexually assaulted me.”
While adding few details to the account she told to reporters earlier this month, she did attempt to explain why she came forward the way she did, first anonymously and later publicly.
She recalled specific details about the night of the assault, including Judge Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, “drunkenly laughing during the attack.” After she escaped their clutches, she said, she heard them “laughing and loudly walk down the narrow stairs, pin-balling off the walls on the way down.”
But she apologized for not remember when, where, or exactly who was at the party where she says the assault took place.
“I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t remember as much as I would like to,” she said. “But the details about that night that bring me here today are ones I will never forget. They have been seared into my memory and have haunted me episodically as an adult.”
Republicans tasked a sexual assault prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, with asking questions, and she prodded Ms. Blasey Ford on her memory of the night.
Democrats, meanwhile, tapped Ms. Blasey Ford’s emotions and dismissed gaps in her memory.
“A trauma survivor cannot be expected to remember every painful detail,” said Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat.
He asked her what the chance was that it was Judge Kavanaugh and not someone else who assaulted her. She said she is “100 percent” certain.
Under questioning from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Ms. Blasey Ford said she’s faced years of anxiety and PTSD-like symptoms, and still suffers claustrophobia — including demanding a second front door on her current home to have another escape route.
She said the chief impact came in the immediate years after the attack, when she struggled academically and had trouble making friends, particularly with boys.
She told Ms. Feinstein there was no question it was Judge Kavanaugh.
“So, what you’re telling us is this could not be a case of mistaken identity?” the senator asked.
“Absolutely not,” Ms. Blasey Ford said.
Her version of events has not been corroborated, and the three witnesses she says she remembers were at the party have each said they cannot recall anything like what she describes.
Since she came forward, she says she has had to face death threats and has been “called the most vile and hateful names imaginable.” She now lives in “various secure locales,” under guard.
And she said earlier this week her work email was hacked, and “messages were sent out supposedly recanting my description of the sexual assault.”