By Gina Martinez
September 21, 2018

Patti Davis, daughter of President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Davis Reagan, has revealed that she was a victim of sexual assault in an op-ed defending Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of misconduct.

In the op-ed, published by The Washington Post, Davis writes about meeting with a music executive nearly 40 years ago while she was working on her entertainment career. She said she remembers being offered cocaine, which she is “90% sure” she declined. But despite her blurry memory of certain details of the evening, she writes that she remembers in perfect detail what happened next.

“He crossed the room,” Davis wrote. “There was a dark-green carpet, but his footsteps seemed loud, hard. He was against me, on top of me — so quickly — with his hands under my skirt and his mouth on mine, that I froze. I lay there as he pushed himself inside me. The leather couch stuck to my skin, made noises beneath me. His breath smelled like coffee and stale bread. He didn’t use a condom.”

Davis writes that she remembers driving home and feeling “alone, ashamed and disgusted” with herself. “Why didn’t I get out of there? Why didn’t I push him off? Why did I freeze?,” she asked herself.

Davis said she did not tell anyone in her life about the assault for decades, and is not surprised that Ford did not speak about her own allegation for 30 years. She writes that it is not uncommon for sexual assault victims to forget specific details surrounding the attack, and so it is unfair to criticize Ford for failing to recall facts like the address of the house in which the alleged encounter took place while claiming to remember precise details about the incident itself.

“That’s what happens: Your memory snaps photos of the details that will haunt you forever, that will change your life and live under your skin. It blacks out other parts of the story that really don’t matter much.” Davis writes.

Ford has asked that the Federal Bureau of Investigation look into the details of her allegation against Kavanaugh before she testifies about her claim before the Senate Judiciary Committee — a request that Davis calls brave.

“Perhaps the aging men who are poised to interrogate her, unless they hide behind surrogates, should pause for a moment and think about the courage it takes for a woman to say: Here is my memory. It has haunted me for decades. It changed my life. You need to know about it now because of what is at stake for this country.” Davis writes.

Kavanaugh, who has denied Ford’s allegation, was seen as all but assured to ascend to the Supreme Court until Ford’s claim against him was made public. While many Republicans appear eager to quickly push through Kavanaugh’s would-be lifetime appointment, many Democrats are calling for further examination of Ford’s allegation before his nomination process continues. Republicans currently have the votes to approve Kavanaugh, but his nomination could be sunk if only a few Republicans dissent. Meanwhile, the impending midterm elections could change the political makeup of the Senate; if Democrats gain enough seats, they could block Kavanaugh without the help of Republican defectors.

Write to Gina Martinez at gina.martinez@time.com.

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