Alyssa Milano, Ashley Judd and other Hollywood actors open up about their sexual assault stories after Trump cast doubts on Dr Blasey

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Hollywood celebrities Alyssa Milano and Ashley Judd have opened up about their experiences of sexual assault after President Donald Trump criticized an alleged victim. Trump took to Twitter on Friday to share his thoughts on the accusations leveled against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by Dr Christine Blasey Ford. Dr Blasey is an American psychologist and professor of statistics at Palo Alto University.

“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents,” Trump tweeted.

In early July 2018, after Judge Brett Kavanaugh was reported to be on Donald Trump’s shortlist to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ford contacted both The Washington Post via a tip line and her Representative Anna Eshoo. On July 20, after Trump nominated Kavanaugh, Eshoo met with Ford, becoming convinced of her credibility and noting that Ford seemed “terrified” that her identity as an accuser might become public.

Thereafter, Eshoo and Ford mutually decided to take the matter to Senator Dianne Feinstein, one of Ford’s Senators in California and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would deliberate Kavanaugh’s nomination. In a letter to Feinstein, Ford alleged that Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when both were in high school, and stated that she expected her story to be kept confidential. In August, Ford took a polygraph test with a former FBI agent, who concluded Ford was being truthful when attesting to the accuracy of her allegations.

Owing to her confidentiality commitment to Ford, Feinstein did not raise the issue in the initial Kavanaugh confirmation proceedings. On September 12, The Intercept reported (without naming Ford) that Feinstein was withholding a Kavanaugh-related document from fellow Judiciary Committee Democrats. Feinstein then referred Ford’s letter to the FBI, which redacted Ford’s name and forwarded the letter to the White House as an update to Kavanaugh’s background check. The White House in turn sent the letter to the full Senate Judiciary Committee.

On September 16, 2018, after media reported anonymous allegations and reporters started to track down her identity, Ford went public. Ford had wrestled with the choice to make her identity known, weighing the potential negative impact it could have on her, but ultimately spoke to The Washington Post, alleging that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in the summer of 1982 when she was 15 and he was 17. She said that, while his friend Mark Judge watched, Kavanaugh, intoxicated, held her down on a bed with his body, grinding against and groping her, covering her mouth when she tried to scream and trying to pull her clothes off. She recounted escaping when Judge jumped on them both and they all fell.

As corroboration of her account, Ford provided The Post with the polygraph as well as session notes from her therapist written in 2012. The therapist’s notes do not name Kavanaugh but record Ford’s claim of being attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington”.

The therapist’s notes also say four boys were involved, which Ford attributed to an error by the therapist; Ford said in 2018 that four boys were at the party but only two were involved in the incident. Ford’s husband recalled that she had used Kavanaugh’s last name in her 2012 description of the incident. Kavanaugh and Judge both denied Ford’s allegations.

Attorneys Debra Katz, Lisa Blanks and Michael Bromwich represent Ford in the process of going public with her statements about Kavanaugh. She is being assisted in preparation for her testimony by Democratic adviser Ricki Seidman, who prepared Anita Hill for her testimony against Clarence Thomas during his 1991 Supreme Court nomination hearings.

On September 18, Ford’s attorneys sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley requesting that the FBI investigate the incident before the Senate holds a hearing on Ford’s allegations to “ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions.” The letter additionally noted the significant public support Ford had received, but also severe harassment including death threats, forcing her to leave her home. The same day, a crowdfunding campaign was created to defray Ford’s security costs, surpassing its $100,000 goal in less than 24 hours.

On September 21, President Trump tweeted about Ford, saying that if Ford’s allegations were true, either she or her parents would have reported them at the time of the event.

Fortune called the tweet an attempt “to undermine her allegation” and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), considered a key swing vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, said she is “appalled” by Trump’s tweet, calling it “inappropriate and wrong.” Trump issued several more statements, including a tweet alleging Ford’s claims came from “radical left-wing” politicians and lawyers.

The hashtag #WhyIDidntReport began trending on Twitter following Trump’s comments, with former Charmed star Milano sharing her own incidents of sexual assault.

“Hey, @realDonaldTrump, Listen the f**k up. I was sexually assaulted twice. Once when I was a teenager. I never filed a police report and it took me 30 years to tell my parents,” she wrote. “If any survivor of sexual assault would like to add to this please do so in the replies. #MeToo.”

Judd, an advocate of the #MeToo movement, posted about her own harrowing experiences too.

“The first time it happened, I was 7. I told the first adults I came upon,” she stated. “They said, ‘Oh, he’s a nice old man, that’s not what he meant.’ So when I was raped at 15, I only told my diary. When an adult read it, she accused me of having sex with an adult man.”

Riverdale star Lili Reinhart also took part and wrote: “Because I didn’t want to lose my job or make people think I was a drama queen. #WhyIDidntReport.”

While actress Daryl Hannah simply shared on Twitter: “I did, it didn’t matter, I was dismissed, disparaged, & I still get blamed #WhyIDidntReport.”