News & Politics

Brett Kavanaugh's Accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, Goes into Hiding After Receiving Vicious Death Threats: Report

This is why women don't come forward sooner.

Photo Credit: Office of U.S. Senator David Perdue

One of the first criticisms Senate Republicans had of the allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh committed sexual assault at age 17 was to ask why Democrats had waited until the last minute to take any action on the letter, despite having it for weeks.

The reason was that the survivor, California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford — who alleges that in the early 1980s at a party, Kavanaugh pulled her into a bedroom, forcibly held her, tried to undress her, and covered her mouth to muffle her screams while a friend looked on  — was fearful of the personal consequences if she ventured into the national spotlight to speak out against such a powerful figure.

Democrats, starting with ranking Senate Judiciary Committee member Dianne Feinstein, wanted to protect her privacy. Even now, Ford and her attorneys want the FBI to open their own investigation into the incident before the Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearings on the matter.

And if reports in The New York Times are any indication, Ford's worries were not without merit:

Dr. Blasey, thrust suddenly into a spotlight that she never sought, has been inundated with vulgar email and social media messages, and even death threats, according to a person close to her, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private matter. “From what I’ve heard you have 6 months to live, you disgusting slime,” one message said.

Dr. Blasey, who has two teenagers, has moved out of her house, is arranging for private security for herself and her family, and is effectively in hiding, the person said. But Dr. Blasey has also been buoyed by a flood of supportive messages from friends and strangers.

“Ninety percent of people think she’s a hero and are extremely supportive of her, and 10 percent want her to die immediately,” the person said, adding, "Her worst fears are coming true."

Indeed, the mounting right-wing fury at Ford is so great that at least one completely different professor who shares her name was targeted online after GOP trolls mistakenly went after her.

The good news is that Ford is also receiving an outpouring of public support. 200 women from her alma mater signed a letter in support of her. One of her fellow classmates to do so was Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the actress of Seinfeld and Veep fame.

27 years after the Senate shamefully dragged Anita Hill through the mud in the Clarence Thomas hearings, America has a chance to do things better. That begins with protecting Ford from intimidation and threats — and taking her story seriously.

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.