Immediately following Professor Ford’s testimony, commentators rushed to the camera to eagerly state how credible she was.
“This is a disaster for the Republicans,” said Chris Wallace, a moderator on Fox, the most pro-Kavanaugh and pro-Republican of the media outlets, echoing his fellow commentators. One can only imagine what was being said on CNN and MSNBC.
Republican politicians seemed to agree. When asked by reporters if Dr. Ford was credible, Sen. Shelby said that she was. Sen. Cornyn pointed out that “there are obviously gaps in her story,” but was careful to add he “found no reason to find her not credible.”
Perhaps it is impolitic to say that Dr. Ford’s testimony was not credible. I am not a politician. It was not credible. What makes her testimony not credible to me is her description of her visible emotional state following the alleged assault.
She says in her opening statement:
“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. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.”
According to her own words, we have a 15-year-old who is “terrified.” She is terrified because she believed she was going to be raped by at least one boy, perhaps more. And, she is terrified because she felt her life was in jeopardy. One can not fully appreciate the distress anyone — even the most mature and strongest among us — would feel in that situation.
It is hard to imagine that much distress would not be visible in some way in any of us. Is it not reasonable to assume that same of a Dr. Ford when she was, in a sense, still a child?
However, as Dr, Ford began to testify more fully about that night, it became strikingly odd how the terror she admitted to feeling that evening was not noticeable to anyone she claims was in attendance at that party.
Take, for example, her accounting of how she walked past the party-goers following the assault, exited the house, and waited for a driver (she can’t remember who this driver was) for an unspecified length of time to take her home.
This is an action that would have struck those at the small gathering as strange, especially since the only other female at the party was a close friend. One would think that the friend, or at least someone at the party, would wonder why she did so, and perhaps even ask her. But, then, one might also wonder why Dr. Ford left without warning her so-called friend that she was going to be the sole female at a drunken party with four boys, two of which were known sexual predators.
Certainly the person who took her home would have noticed that she was upset, or at least would have expressed some curiosity as to why she was going home early, at some point during the 20 minute drive home. But no.
Perhaps Dr. Ford was the stoic, “keep calm and carry on” sort at 15, but she did not come across that way during her Senate testimony, as an adult woman in her fifties. At various times she seemed nervous, anxious, and distraught. She wore her heart on her sleeve, as they say. Yet her emotions following an attempted rape were unnoticeable to anyone moments after it occurred.
As if to emphasize how normal her behavior was following the alleged rape, and murder attempt, when asked why no one else even remembered the party, Dr. Ford answered that nothing memorable happened to them.
One memorable thing that could have happened to them, but didn’t apparently, was seeing a hysterical girl burst out of a bedroom screaming, “Brett tried to rape me!” But again, no.
It is not for me to declare how a teen-aged girl must behave following a rape attempt, and life-threatening assault. But the suggestion that Dr. Ford as a teenager behaved in a way that no one took note of does not seem credible.
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