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Christine Blasey Ford’s voice shook as she described her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in a dramatic hearing before the Senate Thursday that saw senators bickering from its start.

Ford held back tears as she described the teenage party where she claims Kavanaugh attacked her as his friend Mark Judge watched.

“I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t remember as much as I would like to,” she said. “But the details about that night that bring me here today are ones I will never forget. They have been seared into my memory and have haunted me episodically as an adult.”

She paused, taking a few deep breaths at times, before continuing.

“When I got to the small gathering, people were drinking beer in a small living room on the first floor of the house. I drank one beer that evening. Brett and Mark were visibly drunk. Early in the evening, I went up a narrow set of stairs leading from the living room to a second floor to use the bathroom. When I got to the top of the stairs, I was pushed from behind into a bedroom. I couldn’t see who pushed me.”

“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,” she recalled.

Ford said it was that moment which scared her the most.

“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.”

She added: “Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They both seemed to be having a good time.”

She also addressed questions about why she did not report the assault at the time.

“For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone the details. I did not want to tell my parents that I, at age 15, was in a house without any parents present, drinking beer with boys,” she said.

“I tried to convince myself that because Brett did not rape me, I should be able to move on and just pretend that it had never happened,” Ford noted.

Ford also explained why she came forward when she did, saying she thought it was her duty to offer her knowledge about a nominee to the Supreme Court.

“I thought it was my civic duty to relay the information I had about Mr. Kavanaugh’s conduct so that those considering his potential nomination would know about the assault,” Ford said.

She recounted how she wanted to keep her name confidential so she would not have to put her family at risk. Ford and her family had to leave their home after her name became public and she has received threats to her life. Security for herself was one of her conditions for Thursday’s hearing.

“My hope was that providing the information confidentially would be sufficient to allow the Senate to consider Mr. Kavanaugh’s serious misconduct without having to make myself, my family, or anyone’s family vulnerable to the personal attacks and invasions of privacy we have faced since my name became public,” she said.

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