Christine Blasey Ford, who entered the public eye when she accused then-judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, reemerged Tuesday to present an award to a survivor of sexual abuse for Sports Illustrated.
In a video recorded for the magazine, Ford presented the Inspiration of the Year award to Rachael Denhollander, a former Olympic gymnast who was the first of now-imprisoned Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s victims to speak out against him.
In her first public statement since September, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford presents Sports Illustrated’s Inspiration of the Year Award to Rachael Denhollander https://t.co/2lBOB9nVDk pic.twitter.com/AjRYVYfOmS
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 12, 2018
The video was Ford’s first public statement since testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegation that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and attempted to rape her at a party in the 1980s, when they were both high-schoolers.
“I am in awe of you, and I will always be inspired by you,” Ford says to Denhollander in the video. “In stepping forward, you took a huge risk, and you galvanized future generations to come forward even when the odds are seemingly stacked against them. The lasting lesson is that we all have the power to create real change, and we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by the acts of others.”
In 2016, Denhollander, now a lawyer, filed a federal lawsuit against Nassar in Michigan. That touched off a wave of more than 300 accusations from former gymnasts who said that Nassar had preyed on them when they were kids in his care, which ultimately led to multiple convictions for sexually assaulting minors. Nassar will spend the rest of his life in prison.