During Thursday’s confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford recalled a haunting memory from the assault she says occurred at the hands of the judge when he was in high school in 1982.
When Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked the Palo Alto University professor what her most vivid memory of the alleged assault is, Blasey’s response was powerful and poignant.
“Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense,” Blasey said, her voice cracking with emotion. “I was underneath one of them while the two laughed. Two friends having a really good time with one another.”
The exchange, and Blasey’s haunting answer, struck a chord with many viewers.
Earlier in the hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) asked Blasey how she was so sure that the person who attacked her was Kavanaugh. The question was in response to a Republican lawmaker who claimed Ford may have mistaken Kavanaugh for a different classmate.
Again, Blasey’s response was unwavering.
“The same way that I’m sure that I’m talking to you right now, just basic memory functions,” Blasey told Feinstein. “Also just the level of norepinephrine and epinephrine in the brain that sort of, as you know, encodes that neurotransmitter and encodes memories into the hippocampus. So the trauma-related experience is kind of locked there, whereas other details kind of drift.”
Feinstein reiterated her question, asking, “So what you are telling us is this could not be a case of mistaken identity.”
“Absolutely not,” Blasey responded.
“I was underneath one of them while the two laughed. Two friends having a really good time with one another.”
During a separate exchange, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), asked Blasey, “Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?”
“100 percent,” she responded.
Earlier this month, Blasey accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a high school party in 1982. Blasey says that Kavanaugh and a friend, Mark Judge, cornered her in a room and Kavanaugh jumped on top of her, groped her and attempted to take her clothes off. When Blasey tried to scream for help, she says the then-17-year-old Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth to silence her. Blasey was 15 at the time.
Two other women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. On Sunday, Deborah Ramirez claimed that the judge exposed himself to her and thrust his penis in her face during a party when they were students at Yale University during the 1983-84 school year. On Wednesday, Julie Swetnick alleged that Kavanaugh was “present” at a party where she was gang raped.
Kavanaugh is set to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee after Blasey on Thursday. A committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination is set for Friday.