On Sept. 27, Professor Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about her sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. While airing live footage from the hearing on Capitol Hill, C-SPAN prompted viewers to call in and share their thoughts on Dr. Ford's opening statements, and women subsequently flooded the phone lines, courageously sharing their own stories of abuse and assault.
"You get confused, and you don't understand it, but you never forget what happened to you."
One woman in particular, Brenda from Missouri, captivated C-SPAN viewers when she emotionally recounted the haunting details of her own experience with childhood sexual assault. "I'm a 76-year-old woman who was sexually molested in the second grade. This brings back so much pain," she began. Brenda continued, audibly struggling to hold back tears, by adding: "You will never forget it. You get confused, and you don't understand it, but you never forget what happened to you." These statements are particularly potent given the fact that Kavanaugh supporters have suggested Blasey Ford is simply "mixed up" or even that it's a case of mistaken identity.
Brenda went on to explain that it was a seventh-grader at her school who molested her and how she used to get "so upset" when she saw him around campus. She said the occurrence has impacted her life ever since second grade. "I've had a weight problem my whole life because I was so afraid that someone was going to hurt me," she told C-SPAN host Steve Scully.
"I have not brought this up for years until I heard this testimony, and it is just breaking my heart."
The Missouri woman added that although her family has helped her cope with the assault through the years, hearing the news of Dr. Ford's allegations against Kavanaugh has forced her to revisit the pain of her past. "Without my family, I would have never been able to go through this, and now I'm 76 years, and I thought I was over it until I heard that it's happened to someone else, and it's just such a shame . . . I have not brought this up for years until I heard this testimony, and it is just breaking my heart," she said.
In addition to Brenda from Missouri, other women shared their own stories, too. There was Michelle, a 53-year-old Florida woman who was molested by her friend's 17-year-old brother at age 12. And a Chicago woman named Jessica revealed that she was assaulted in college and said she phoned in to express her support for Dr. Ford and the need to take her allegations against Kavanaugh seriously. The fact that Brenda, Michelle, Jessica, and so many others were willing to openly rehash the painful details of their own assaults on live television perfectly illustrates just how much this news story has struck a nerve with women everywhere.