A year after publicly accusing Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford made a rare public appearance to accept an award from the ACLU of Southern California.
Dr. Ford accepted the Rodger Baldwin Courage Award on Sunday night, and in her acceptance speech she said she felt a responsibility to the nation to speak out, despite knowing she might be dismissed.
"When I came forward last September, I did not feel courageous. I was simply doing my duty as a citizen," she said. "I understood that not everyone would welcome my information, and I was prepared for a variety of outcomes, including being dismissed."
Last September. Dr. Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, came forward with an account alleging that then-SCOTUS nominee Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her at a house party in the '80s. She testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was reviewing Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, alleging that Kavanaugh pinned her down, groped her over her clothing before trying to remove it, and put his hand over her mouth as she tried to scream.
Kavanaugh, who denied the accusation, was narrowly confirmed to the Court the next month.
As of last November, Dr. Ford was still facing death threats over coming forward, and her lawyers told NPR that she had struggled to return to her regular life. Since then, she has made few public appearances and has had to pay for private security detail.
During her speech, she said that she was thankful that sharing her experience prompted over 200,000 people from around the world to send messages of support to her and to share their own stories of assault and abuse.
"That's why it means so much to me, not just to be recognized by you tonight, but because I know that you will continue the work of protecting sexual assault survivors and preventing sexual assault," she said. "My voice was just one voice. You are many. We are many."
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