YOU WILL BE REMEMBERED WITH GRATITUDE
Thank you, Christine Blasey Ford. Thank you for getting on an airplane and sitting in that crowded U.S. Senate room and facing an interrogation in front of a phalanx of men who wanted you to fail.
You didn’t. You shone. With your big glasses, your unadorned face and that wayward strand of hair, you were Everywoman. Everywoman with guts.
It’s tempting to call you fearless, but you weren’t. You were terriied. You said so. You seemed so. That’s what courage is — doing the hard, right thing even when you’re scared. Thank you for your courage. There’s no evidence that you ever wanted it to come to this, this spectacle in front of a Senate panel and the TV cameras, with your integrity on trial.
From the outset, the hearing was stacked against you. There you were, a psychology professor with no legal training, up against a whole lot of lawyers, including the US Supreme Court nominee you say sexually assaulted you when you were 15 and he was 17 and drunk. At the hearing, only you and he, Brett Kavanaugh, were called to testify. No other witnesses were called, not even the other boy you say was in the bedroom the night you were attacked.
On Thursday morning when you stood up and raised your right hand, swearing to tell the truth, a few million of us held our breath: Would you be able to hold it together? When you began to speak in a tremulous voice about the night you say Kavanaugh assaulted you, a few million of us felt shaky too.
Like you, women all over the country were trying not to cry. Some did anyway. Could you feel all those tears and prayers coming your way? Some women cried because your description of the assault caused them to remember attacks they’d survived. When you described fearing that Kavanaugh would rape you or accidentally kill you, they remembered their own terror at the hands of some other boy, some other man.
Even women who don’t believe you about Kavanaugh — and there are many — can relate to what you described, so even the doubters are in your debt. By speaking out, you showed a strength that will surely inspire others to do the same.
“My motivation in coming forward was to be helpful,” you said. You used the word “helpful” more than once. You said “thank you” and “sorry.” You were so gracious that some people felt compelled to mock those “feminine” traits.
You know what? It takes guts to be gracious when you’re under attack. Consideration for others takes courage. Being nice isn’t evil; the world could use more of it. What you said Thursday will be used by people in both political parties for their own gain. That’s out of your control. You did what you came to do, which was to speak boldly in a world that so often silences women’s experiences of violence. Thank you for the care you took with your words. “I can only speak for how it has impacted me,” you said, but even with your caution you spoke for how sexual assault affects many.
Thank you for enduring it all — the doubts, the insults, the death threats — and for keeping your composure. If you’d broken down, you would have been mocked as an overemotional woman. As you noted, it’s not up to you to determine whether Brett Kavanaugh should sit on the US Supreme Court. You came, you spoke your truth, you conquered your fear.
For doing so, your life will be harder for a long time to come. Thank you in advance for those sacriices. You’ve been called a hero, but you don’t seem the type to crave glory. So let it sufice to say thank you for being a good and brave citizen.
For that, you will be remembered with gratitude.