An English professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill has nominated Christine Blasey Ford for a distinguished-alumna award for “speaking truth to power.”
Professor Jennifer Ho said in her letter of nomination that “what Dr. Blasey Ford did on September 27, 2018 was something that was extraordinary in how ordinary it was: she told the truth about a sexual assault she experienced when she was fifteen years old at the hands of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.”
“She made a statement and then answered questions for over three hours in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee with the cameras of the world trained on her,” Ho said.
Ford earned an undergraduate degree in Experimental Psychology in 1988 at UNC.
“Dr. Blasey Ford talked about how the first few years at Carolina were difficult for her – that her attack at the age of fifteen had lasting implications,” Ho wrote.
In her letter, Ho said her words are “not about partisan politics,” but about how “speaking one’s truth” is “an act of bravery.”
“We live in a society that does not believe women,” the professor said. “The many indignities that women experience in their day-to-day lives is proof of this, as is the continued attacks on Dr. Blasey Ford after her testimony.”
Ho said that Ford is “an inspiration for so many of us,” and that Kavanaugh’s accuser “spoke clearly and precisely about her experiences with trauma, educating the committee and the rest of us about the way certain memories are encoded in the hippocampus when we experience traumatic events.”
Ho also described Ford – a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California – as showing “no evidence of avoidance or defensiveness” in her testimony and asserting to the Senate Judiciary Committee that “she is no one’s pawn.”
“By awarding Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as a distinguished alumna, UNC Chapel Hill sends a message to her, to our students, faculty, and staff, and to the larger community of the US and that world that we believe her,” Ho concluded, “that UNC Chapel Hill believes survivors of sexual assault.”