Christine Blasey Ford offered gripping, emotional testimony Thursday to the Senate Judiciary Committee, her voice shaking as she described a sexual assault she allegedly suffered at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Ford was often on the verge of crying several times during more than two hours of testimony. Others in the room were also in tears.
Kavanaugh "groped me and tried to take off my clothes," Ford said, her voice quaking, in recalling what she alleged happened more than three decades ago when they were high school students.
"He had a hard time because he was so drunk, and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit under my clothes. I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming. This was what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life."
Ford also said she agonized over whether or not to come forward, fearing that Kavanaugh's confirmation was so assured that her testimony would be pointless. "I was calculating daily the risk benefit for me of coming forward, and wondering whether I would just be jumping in front of a train that was headed to where it was headed anyway and that I would just be personally annihilated."
At one point, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. asked Ford what her most vivid memory of the incident was. Ford, a Ph.D. research scientist, gave an answer that was science-based and emotionally gut-wrenching. "Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense," she said.
Two key Republican senators, Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Ben Sasse, R-Neb., were seen listening intently and appeared to be moved by Ford's statement. Others, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., did not appear to be paying close attention.
Ford's allegation is one of four accusations of sexual misconduct that have surfaced in recent weeks against Kavanaugh, who denies them all.
Kavanaugh is scheduled to testify following Ford.