In the wake of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that Brett Kavanaugh tried to sexually assault her as a teenager—a story that has delayed his confirmation to the Supreme Court and sent her life spiraling—candidates up for election or re-election in the midterms have been forced to take a stand. Prolific Democratic candidate Ayanna Pressley declared, "I believe her," and other would-be congressional politicians like Katie Hill are using the hashtag #IBelieveChristine to share videos and messages of support.
Senate Democrats, meanwhile, are largely in favor of a FBI investigation into what happened the night that Dr. Ford says a young Kavanaugh allegedly groped her and tried to remove her clothing—claims Kavanaugh has adamantly denied. Their colleagues on the other side of the aisle are more reluctant to take a side, with some going so far as to say Dr. Ford got "mixed up," and others merely trying to push forward Kavanaugh's confirmation vote.
But perhaps the most persuasive voices are coming from the public figures, celebrities, candidates, and everyday citizens alike who choose to believe Dr. Ford as a matter of principle—women very rarely lie about sexual assault, and it's difficult to believe that Dr. Ford would torpedo her life and career to do so—who are chiming in.
Celebrities like Julianne Moore and America Ferrera joined a host of others to make a video they tagged #DearProfessorFord on Twitter, pledging, "We want you to know that you are not alone. You are a survivor. Millions of us have your back."
#DearProfessorFord, We want you to know that you are not alone. You are a survivor. Millions of us have your back.We call on Senators to demand a full, fair and trauma-informed investigation.Signed,Your Sisters pic.twitter.com/fsGNSH1xpmSeptember 19, 2018
Others are making single-person videos—like Katie Hill, running for Congress in California, who looked straight at the camera to pledge: "I stand with you, and so many of us stand with you." She adds: "We can only imagine how hard this is for you."
I stand with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who is experiencing threats to her & her family’s safety in order to do what’s best for our country. As women, we must stand together. Make your own video in support of Dr. Ford — no woman should go through this alone. #WeBelieveChristine pic.twitter.com/RLLF9DYQXbSeptember 20, 2018
And on Friday, after President Trump tweeted a full-throated defense of Kavanaugh that amounted to "If it happened, why didn't she report it?", survivors and allies leapt to defend Dr. Ford with the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport. Individuals explained that they had had no legal recourse, that they suspected they wouldn't be believed, that they knew they couldn't be a "perfect victim," that even if they were believed, they'd be blamed and marginalized. That they were just trying to survive.
Frankly, in the current climate, it shouldn't be difficult to understand why individuals are reluctant to report sexual assault. Dr. Ford has rightfully been called a "patriot" for sacrificing her privacy and personal life to go public with her claims about Kavanaugh—but she's also been called names that I'm not going to write here, received death threats so disturbing she's had to contact the FBI, and been publicly disparaged by the president. She and her family were forced to relocate after her home address was made public—not to mention, she's had to contend with numerous politicians and commentators telling her that her alleged assault never happened at all.
But as loud as Dr. Ford's detractors have been, her allies have arguably been louder.
We’re in the Senate Hart Building with hundreds of women, femmes, and allies to say #IBelieveChristine. pic.twitter.com/WtNH054kMhSeptember 20, 2018
First time in history of NBC/WSJ poll that US Supreme Court nom has more active opposition than support. Opposition has grown significantly since Dr. Ford shared her story of sexual assault. #StopKavanaugh #IBelieveChristine https://t.co/SEeculPIhqSeptember 20, 2018
Several, like Hill, are urging fellow supporters to now share their own video message to Dr.Ford with the hashtag #IBelieveChristine. Here's how.
From explainers to essays, cheat sheets to candidate analysis, we're breaking down exactly what you need to know about this year's midterms. Visit Marie Claire's Midterms Guide for more.
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Jenny is the Digital Director at Marie Claire. Originally from London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and never left. Prior to Marie Claire, she spent five years at Bustle building out its news and politics coverage. She loves, in order: her dog, goldfish crackers, and arguing about why umbrellas are fundamentally useless. Her first novel, EVERYONE WHO CAN FORGIVE ME IS DEAD, will be published by Minotaur Books on February 6, 2024.
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