Dear Professor Ford,
You are a woman with everything to lose who has come forward with very painful memories about being sexually assaulted. You have put your country ahead of everything, including your own family and privacy. You have been the subject of ugly remarks, misogynistic attacks, even death threats. Despite this, you will testify in front of the Senate judiciary committee and the entire country tomorrow morning.
I understand why you didn’t report the sexual assault when it happened, why you tried so hard to bury those memories. A family member sexually assaulted me when I was very young and it was almost 20 years before I allowed myself to start processing what happened.
When I was sexually assaulted last year, I didn’t even consider reporting it. He was white, I’m Hispanic. I did not want not risk my mental health by reporting it and having to be scrutinized. My mother begged me to at least tell a police officer I am friends with. I couldn’t. I thought it was my fault, that I had missed out on some social cue.
I still can’t even discuss what happened with my therapist of almost 10 years or with my mom, the person I run to when I’m scared and need comforting. There’s no way of quantifying what has been taken from me. I wonder sometimes if my relationships would have been different if none of this had happened. I wonder if my extreme aversion to being touched by strangers is a result of being sexually assaulted. I wonder if I’ll ever have a normal relationship.
Professor Ford, you are a hero to me. You are speaking up and risking everything because you know that a man who has a history of sexually assaulting women does not deserve a seat on the Supreme Court. You are setting an example for the girls who are watching what is going on and teaching them that women have rights, they should not be objectified, that men have a responsibility to ask for consent and to accept it when she says no.
I cannot imagine what is going through your mind tonight. I am so grateful that you have the courage to stand up for yourself and for women all over the country. I don’t know if there’s anything I can say to adequately convey how much I admire you. I hope you feel the army of supporters who are behind you while you are testifying tomorrow. Whatever the outcome is, please know that you will still have so much love and support.
You will still be my hero.
Sending you strength,
A fellow survivor