On Monday the 28th of January, Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier nominated psychology professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford for the John F. Kennedy profile in courage award.
Announcing her decision on Twitter, the California representative said Blasey-Ford was “A true American hero” who had “sacrificed so much to do what was right for our country and for the pursuit of truth of justice”
The Profile in Courage award, according to the official website, celebrates “A public official (or officials) at the federal, state or local level whose actions demonstrate the qualities of politically courageous leadership”.
Here’s why she deserves shred of her nomination:
Blasey Ford appeared before a high–profile Senate Judiciary committee in September, alleging that the then Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, has sexually assaulted her at a high school party when she was 15.
Dr. Ford said she was afraid the then 17-year-old Kavanaugh was ‘going to rape and accidentally kill’ her, and claimed he pinned her to a bed, groped her, tried to pull off her clothes, and put his hand over her mouth to “prevent her from screaming”.
With the world media, a hostile panel of Conservatives who wanted Kavanaugh to be appointed, and her alleged abuser himself watching, Dr. Ford risked her job, her safety and her reputation to re live an unimaginably traumatising experience. All so the world would know what sort of man America was appointing to the highest court in the land.
In the wake of Dr. Fords testimony, many sexual assault survivors came forward in a public show of support, such as Connie Chung and Shapi Khorsandi, both of whom wrote op-eds in the “Independent” explaining why they, like Dr. Ford, stayed quiet about their assault for so long.
“You bury it deep” wrote Khorsandi, a British comedian, “You don’t want it to blight your life, you don’t want to be defined by it, you don’t want people to see how much you blame yourself: “I shouldn’t have been there”, “I should have fought harder”, “I led him on”.
“You blame yourself because it seems so utterly unreal that another human being would want to harm you – hurt you when you have done nothing to harm them.”
Dr. Christine Blasey Fords testimony was, in the end, ignored. Kavanaugh “unequivocally” denied all claims, and despite criticism of his overly defensive approach, was appointed as a judge on the Supreme Court.
He received the full support of US president Donald Trump, who tweeted that Dr. Fords’ testimony was part of a “search and destroy” campaign by the Democratic party.
But the bravery she displayed in coming forward about her traumatic, long repressed experience, in a hostile climate, knowing it would put her life in danger is inspiring.
She reminded survivors that they weren’t alone- that their lives could continue on after their assault, that they could thrive and be happy.
Most importantly, she unlocked the shared sense of terror and betrayal in every woman who has had a man defile them and then expect their silence.
She gave the frightened 15-year-old girls in all of us permission to scream. And if that doesn’t deserve an award, I’m not sure what else does.