September 28, 2018
PCAR Statement on Testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
Following Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing regarding allegations of sexual assault made against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, PCAR CEO Karen Baker issued the following statement:
Brave. Courageous. Inspiring. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford spoke yesterday with conviction, sharing her experience of sexual abuse as a 15-year-old in 1982. She delivered her testimony in public—in front of millions watching on TV in the U.S. and around the world, under oath. She believed it was her civic duty to come forward to share her story, despite threats to her safety, public shaming, and outright disbelief of her experience.
Dr. Ford spoke eloquently about the continued effects of trauma on her. She openly admitted that she does not remember all of the surrounding details of the incident, but that should come as no surprise; fragmented or incomplete memories are to be expected is sexual assault cases.
Dr. Ford’s description of the trauma she has been through and the details that are ‘indelible in the hippocampus,’ stuck in her brain decades later, resonated with all those who have suffered sexual violence. Victims of sexual assault frequently experience trauma for years and decades. The courage required to make oneself whole after suffering abuse should be respected. Victims should never be shamed into silence because an abuser would rather forget than be held accountable.
We know that every victim responds to sexual assault differently. Some may tell others they were sexually assaulted right away, but most do not. Many victims will wait weeks, months, or even years before discussing the assault with anyone. Delayed and partial reports are normal and should never be used to discredit survivors.
To Dr. Ford and all survivors, we believe you. And we support you. We know that victims of sexual assault throughout the Commonwealth and beyond can relate to the criticism, disbelief, and victim-blaming experienced by Dr. Ford yesterday and since details of her story became public.
The testimony presented yesterday demonstrates the need for a complete investigation by the FBI before a full Senate confirmation vote takes place. The American Bar Association called for this investigation in a letter to the Judiciary Committee. It is time for survivors to be heard—all survivors. This case is bigger than a single Supreme Court nominee. This is about our loved ones being able to live their lives free from sexual harassment, abuse, and assault. This is about our loved ones learning the essential importance of affirmative consent.
Survivors of sexual abuse are watching the proceedings closely. They were inspired by the strength of Dr. Ford. Now we collectively must do more to support them by creating a culture where victim-blaming is not the norm. Where survivors are believed and our reactions to allegations of abuse equal the seriousness of the action.