Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who late last week publicly claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at 15, originally wanted to remain anonymous. In July, when Kavanaugh’s name was noted as being on Trump’s nominee short list, she reached out to The Washington Post tip line; later that month, she told Senator Dianne Feinstein her story—through a letter which made explicit her request to protect her privacy.
Now that Blasey Ford has courageously come forward—demanding an FBI investigation into her allegation and a delay on any vote until the investigation is complete and she has had a chance to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee—she has found herself in the spotlight, and she has become the target of an onslaught of harassment, threats and insults.
In the midst of this mayhem, celebrities and feminist figureheads came together to send Blasey Ford a message of solidarity and support. In a viral video released today by Paola Mendoza, artistic director of the historic 2017 Women’s March, celebrities like Eva Longoria, Julianne Moore, America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn and Gabrielle Union; feminist writers and editors like Cindi Leivi and Tavi Gevinson; movement leaders like Ai-jen Poo, Monica Ramirez, Andrea Pino and Jamia Wilson; and many others thank Blasey Ford for coming forward and declare themselves “her sisters.”
“We know how difficult it is to stand up to powerful people. We want to thank you for publicly sharing your story of sexual violence,” the women tell Blasey Ford. “The behavior you described was wrong and runs directly counter to upholding the law and promoting justice.”
The women also note how unfair and difficult the circumstances were around Blasey Ford’s telling her story. “We applaud your courage in coming forward for the public good, and we will be with you as you face the inevitable backlash,” they assure her. “You are strong, and you are not alone. You are a survivor. Millions of us have your back.”
We want you to know that you are not alone. You are a survivor. Millions of us have your back.
We call on Senators to demand a full, fair and trauma-informed investigation.
Your Sisters pic.twitter.com/fsGNSH1xpm
— Paola Mendoza (@paolamendoza) September 19, 2018
After Mendoza tweeted the video message from her account, the corresponding hashtag—#DearProfessorFord—became the top trending topic on Twitter. In a watershed moment, women from across the country began to send their own supportive messages to Blasey Ford.
Some thank her for her courage.
#DearProfessorFord I am just a single mom in a small rural town who you will never meet but I thank you. I thank you for having the strength to speak up knowing that your life would forever be affected. I thank you and I believe you.
— Nicole Land (@nmland8) September 19, 2018
#DearProfessorFord something similar happened to me in HS. Thank you for your courage & your truth. I believe you, I appreciate you, & you are giving so many of us strength. You didn't deserve what you went through at 15 nor what's happening now. So many of us stand with you.
— Katie MacBride (@msmacb) September 19, 2018
Others demanded that she be given the opportunity to seek justice that was denied to Anita Hill in 1991, who came forward with sexual harassment allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee (and now, sitting Justice) Clarence Thomas. Hill spoke out earlier this week to urge Senators to make time to listen to Blasey Ford and investigate the allegations she made.
Dear @GOP – the women of this country are not going to allow you to railroad and dismiss #dearprofessorford. This is not 1991 and you cannot treat her the way you treated #AnitaHill. We insist on a non-political, unbiased investigation prior to any hearings and before a vote.
— Galwayuc (@galwayuc) September 19, 2018
Many women, however, used the tag to share their own experiences—once again illuminating, much like the initial #MeToo explosion, just how widespread and normalized sexual violence remains around the nation.
#DearProfessorFord I too experienced a similar attack in high school. I can’t imagine knowing my attacker came to be a powerful man and the pressure to come forward with the truth. We are all with you and you are a hero to so many of us.
— Heather (@HeatherLasvegas) September 20, 2018
#DearProfessorFord I, too, was sexually assaulted when I was 18. I am 52& didn't tell anyone until last year. For the those who find this hard to believe, you have no idea of the shame and guilt. You do not know how vivid the details of the actual assault remain. We are with you
— kelly stalcup (@StalcupKelly) September 19, 2018
Mendoza’s star-studded video ends with one simple but uplifting message: “We believe you. Signed, your sisters.” As the night goes on, more and more women are signing on to that same letter of support.