Christine Blasey Ford, the accuser of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, made a rare public appearance on Wednesday to accept an award for empowering others. This even happened more than a year after she accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault and testified publicly before Congress.
The Palo Alto University professor was greeted with a standing ovation when she accepted the YWCA Silicon Valley Empowerment Award. This award celebrates and honors women in the community who are advocates and ambassadors for change.
“I’m deeply humbled to receive this award,” Ford said. “It’s funny. I was inspired by Anita Hill when I was deciding whether to testify, but it didn’t occur to me at the time that I would be inspiring anyone else.”
Ford maintained that she was “focused” on telling her story to the Senate Judiciary Committee and she did not think about the lasting impact of her testimony.
“I simply thought that it was my duty as a citizen and that anyone in my position would do the same thing,” Ford said.
Ford praised the YWCA’s work helping victims of domestic and sexual violence in the Bay Area and talked about the impact her family faced as a result of her testimony.
“When my family was forced out of our home last year, we had resources and we had friends who made sure that we had safe places to go and stay. So many women do not. So many women do not have the privilege that my professional position afforded me. It is much harder for them to speak up. But women in Silicon Valley have you,” she said in praise of the organization.
Ford’s lawyer, Debra Katz, reported last October that Ford received death threats and her family was forced to change locations for security measures.
A GoFundMe account organized on her behalf raised more than $647,000. Ford closed the account and wrote that the donations “allowed us to take reasonable steps to protect ourselves against frightening threats, including physical protection and security for me and my family, and to enhance the security for our home.”
Ford was one of several women who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct but was the only one who appeared before Congress.
She alleged that Kavanaugh pinned her down and tried to take off her clothes, at one point allegedly pressing his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming during a high school party in 1982.
He denied all the allegations against him before being confirmed to the Supreme Court by the Senate in a 50-48 vote.