The Washington-area all girls school Holton-Arms is lending support to a graduate who went public with assault allegations against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
In a statement shared by Holton-Arms Head of School Susanna A. Jones Monday, the school says all voices should be empowered, including that of ’84 alumna Christine Blasey Ford. The statement reads in part:
In a recent article, The Washington Post describes an alleged assault of one of our alumnae by Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh that occurred in the early 1980s, while she was a student at Holton-Arms. In these cases, it is imperative that all voices are heard. As a school that empowers women to use their voices, we are proud of this alumna for using hers.
“We believe Dr. Blasey Ford and are grateful that she came forward to tell her story,” the draft letter reads, adding that the allegation “is all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton. Many of us are survivors ourselves.”
The actor Julia Louis-Dreyfus said on Twitter that she was among those who signed the letter.
Reached by phone, signer and class of ’05 alumna Sarah Wolfords explains that the letter came together quickly: “Ultimately, we knew, in the coming days her story and her person would be scrutinized, and so one of the strongest things we could think to do would be to really show her that there’s a network of women who believe her, who care about her and support her, and who are really sending our love and strength as she goes through this after her brave coming forward with her story.”
Wolfords and fellow alumnae have received pushback from people who have asked whether any of them knew Ford personally. Wolfords says she finds this kind of thinking problematic and emblematic of struggles contained within the #MeToo movement: “I don’t know her personally, but I believe her fully. As that movement showed, these experiences are all too real and all too common.”
Another group of alumnae from Ford’s graduating class of 1984 lobbed an additional letter to Congress on Monday. Text of the letter shared on the school’s private graduate Facebook page includes a plea for the Senate to postpone Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote, and instead re-open investigations into the judge’s history. The women write, partly:
It is an act of civic duty and the experience she described in her letter needs to be seriously considered. We represent all political parties and we support Christine bringing this matter forward […] In light of Christine’s experience, we hold our elected officials responsible for conducting a more thorough and comprehensive review of this Supreme Court nominee. Having taken this courageous step, Christine deserves your due consideration on this serious matter.
They argue that Kavanaugh’s alleged actions should be rendered as “a failure of character at any age—regardless of the subsequent accomplishments and power attained by the offender.
Ford went public with her allegations Sunday. She says that during a party in the early 1980s Kavanaugh attempted to force himself on her with the aid of a fellow classmate. According to the Washington Post, Ford felt compelled to come public after a confidential letter she wrote to Senator Dianne Feinstein detailing the alleged assault leaked to the press last week.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination Thursday.