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Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in prior to giving testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on Sept. 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. Blasey Ford had accused now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland.
Erin Schaff—Pool/Getty Images

Christine Blasey Ford spoke about her testimony at Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s tense Senate confirmation hearing last year during a rare public appearance Wednesday.

Blasey Ford told attendees at an annual “Inspire Luncheon” event held by the Silicon Valley Chapter of YWCA that she didn’t realize she would be seen as an inspiration by so many people, and urged others to “be courageous.”

“I was inspired by Anita Hill when I was deciding whether to testify but it didn’t occur to me at the time that I would be inspiring anyone else,” Blasey Ford said after the group chose her for the “Empowerment Award.” “I was focused on telling the U.S. Senate what had happened to me. I simply thought that it was my duty as a citizen and that anyone in my position would do the same thing.”

Hill famously accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

The Palo Alto University professor, who rarely speaks publicly, closed her speech by saying that, “Everyone has the power to inspire others. Be courageous, stand strong, be yourself.”

Blasey Ford’s testimony that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago gripped and divided the nation. Kavanaugh vigorously denied the allegations and was confirmed by the Republican-majority Senate.

She was recognized as one of the TIME 100 most influential people in 2019.

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Write to Sanya Mansoor at

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