A group of women who went to Christine Blasey Ford’s high school are circulating a letter to show support for the woman who has alleged that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to sexually assault her while they were in high school.
“We believe Dr. Blasey Ford and are grateful that she came forward to tell her story,” says a draft letter from alumnae of Holton-Arms, a private girls school in Bethesda, Maryland. “It demands a thorough and independent investigation before the Senate can reasonably vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to a lifetime seat on the nation’s highest court.”
The women also say that what Ford is alleging “is all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton. Many of us are survivors ourselves.”
The letter is a boost of support for Ford, who has been thrust into the political spotlight and had her credibility questioned by going up against Kavanaugh and the White House. The signatories span decades at the school ― before, during and after Ford attended.
More than 200 women had signed the letter as of late Monday morning, said Sarah Burgess, a member of the class of 2005. (One notable signature: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, class of 1979, who said Monday afternoon that she had added her name to the letter. ) Burgess said she and some of her schoolmates wrote the letter because hearing Ford’s story felt “personal.”
“I know that in the coming days, her story will be scrutinized, and she will be accused of lying,” Burgess said in an email. “However, I grew up hearing stories like hers, and believe her completely.”
Susanna Jones, the Holton-Arms head of school, put out a statement Sunday night in support of Ford.
“In these cases, it is imperative that all voices are heard,” Jones said. “As a school that empowers women to use their voices, we are proud of this alumna for using hers.”
Ford went public with her accusations against Kavanaugh on Sunday in an interview with The Washington Post. She said she was 15 when she attended a party where she encountered Kavanaugh, who was 17 at the time. She said Kavanaugh and his friend shut her in a room and turned up the music to hide her protests. Kavanaugh, who was drunk, held her down and tried to remove her clothes. She said that at one point he held his hand on her mouth to stifle her screams. She managed to escape.
Ford had contacted Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) with a letter about Kavanaugh in July. Rumors of that letter were circling Capitol Hill in recent weeks, with Senate Judiciary Committee members pressing Feinstein to share details. Media reports last week revealed the letter and the details but did not name Ford.
Last week, Republicans attempted to push back on the growing crisis and show as much support for Kavanaugh as possible. Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans released a letter from 65 women who said they knew the nominee in high school and vouched for his character, saying he always treated women with ”decency and respect.”
Politico attempted to contact all the women on the letter to see if they still stood behind Kavanaugh in light of Ford’s allegations; several have said they do but most didn’t respond. Although a few GOP senators have come out and said they’d like to hear Ford testify, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee put out a statement Sunday reiterating the support Kavanaugh has publicly received and casting Ford’s allegations as part of a political tactic by Democrats.
Kavanaugh is still scheduled to receive a committee vote on Thursday.
This article has been updated with comment from Burgess and Jones, as well as with information from the most recent version of Politico’s report.