The survivor's rage

Christine Blasey Ford's testimony has let loose a seismic swelling of grief and horror and incandescent anger that isn't subsiding any time soon

Christine Blasey Ford
(Image credit: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

Several years ago, as I sat outside my workplace handing out newsletters, a woman approached me. With a bright voice, she asked if I remembered her. Of course, I remembered her: Her son molested me when I was in first grade. He was older than me, and so much stronger; he could pin me to the floor with one leg. He'd grope and fondle me with a furtive clumsiness, pulling at the tenderest parts of me. There on the street with this woman from my past, I could barely speak, or even think, through the sirens roaring inside my head. I told her that no, I didn't remember her. I would spend the rest of the afternoon in my office, door closed, sitting on the floor, waiting for my shock and rage and grief to subside into a merciful numbness.

I've thought about that moment a lot recently. It fell from the closed cupboard of my memory and shattered on the floor as I watched Christine Blasey Ford raise her hand and swear an oath to tell the truth about her allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh. I listened to her recount the blunt terror of being held down, of fearing for her life, and felt her pain as she described the laughter, the hideous laughter, and how it reduced her to nothing but a body, a vehicle for someone else's amusement. I knew her fear in sharing those memories, as intimately as I've known my own fear of sharing my memories — because, for so long, telling my story has been like swinging on a trapeze without a net, extending my hands, only to find that there's no other bar, no other set of hands, to hold on to.

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