September 26, 2018

Duckworth, Durbin Accept Letter Signed By More Than 1,400 Women & Men Who Attended D.C.-Area Schools in Support of Dr. Blasey Ford

Letter is delivered one day before Dr. Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh will testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee


One day before Dr. Christine Blasey Ford will testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) accepted a letter signed by over 1,400 women and men who attended school in the greater Northwest D.C. / Maryland area – including Dr. Blasey Ford’s and Judge Kavanaugh’s alma maters – to show support for and solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. 

“Courage. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick and their decisions to come forward,” said Duckworth. “In the military, we learned that many survivors of sexual trauma did not come forward for decades because they were afraid of retaliation – and they did not come forward until the Pentagon instituted an anonymous reporting process.  These survivors deserve our respect and for the FBI to immediately look into their accusations.  They didn’t ask for this burden. They didn’t want this spotlight—or the death threats and fear that have come right along with it.  But they’ve spoken out anyway, knowing full well that some would vilify them for doing so or try to bully them into silence – including many Senate Republicans and the President of the United States.”

“Dr. Blasey Ford had every reason to stay silent to avoid harassment and death threats.  And she has shown that she has nothing to hide by calling for a nonpartisan, FBI investigation and sworn testimony from other witnesses.  On the other hand, Judge Kavanaugh, in his Fox News interview, repeated time and time again that he wants a ‘fair process.’  But Republicans have blocked an FBI investigation and refuse to call other witnesses.  As Senator McConnell promised, they’re trying to ‘plow right through’ to confirm President Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court,” said Durbin.  “Today, we’re hearing another perspective – women and men who grew up in Dr. Blasey Ford’s community, who believe her, and who are asking us to listen to her and respect her.  I hope and pray that the United States Senate will heed their words.”

“I deeply appreciate the opportunity to speak with Senators Duckworth and Durbin on behalf of survivors of sexual assault this morning,” said Casey Mooney, Connelly School of the Holy Child graduate and co-signer of the letter that was delivered to Durbin and Duckworth.  “The rhetoric of blame about our experiences coming from the White House and parts of the Senate have retraumatized many of us over these past few days.  The language of shame and blame prevents us from telling our stories and gives our abusers cover. That must end.”

The letter includes over 1,400 signatories, including alumni and members/former members of the following D.C.-area schools, churches, and country clubs:  Academy of the Holy Cross, Bethesda Chevy Chase HS, Blessed Sacrament Church, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Charles W. Woodward High School, Connelly School of the Holy Child, Georgetown Day, Georgetown Prep, Georgetown Visitation, Gonzaga, Holton-Arms, Immaculata, Wilson High School, Little Flower Church, Maret, Chevy Chase Country Club, Montgomery Blair HS, National Cathedral School, The Field School, Congressional Country Club, School Without Walls, Sidwell Friends, St. Alban’s, St. Anselm’s Abbey, St. John’s College High School, St. Andrew’s Episcopal, Stone Ridge, Annunciation Church, Columbia Country Club, Landon School, Edmund Burke, Bullis, St. Jane DeChantal, Madeira, Potomac School, Good Counsel, Wootton HS, Winston Churchill HS, Walter Johnson HS, Richard Montgomery HS, Walt Whitman HS.

Photos of today’s press conference are available here.  Video of today’s press conference is available here.

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

An open letter to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford,

We are women and men who grew up in the same world as both you and Brett Kavanaugh - in Chevy Chase, Bethesda, and Northwest DC.  We attended the same elite private schools, country clubs, and churches.

And we believe you.

Each one of us heard your story and not one of us was surprised.  These are the stories of our lives and our friends’ lives.  We know the terrible impact of sexual assault, coercive behavior, and harassment that pervaded the culture of our youth and continues today.  And we understand why girls and women often do not report their attackers because of the fear of being disbelieved, shamed, and ostracized.

Nor will we be surprised by the ugliness that will likely come next as your character and your memories are attacked and belittled.

We stand with you.  We are humbled by your bravery.  We will not allow you to be silenced.