Women’s Shelter explains why Dr. Christine Blasey Ford unable to recall when alleged assault took place

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Thursday, September 27, is one that will go down in history books, as Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding an alleged sexual assault incident from 1982.

Doctor Ford’s testimony undoubtedly made some sexual assault victims in Minnesota, and across the country, relive their own painful experiences, according to Terri Allred.

She serves as the Rochester Women’s Shelter Director of Community Engagement, an organization that has helped more than 3,000 women each year since 1978.

According to Allred, the Kavanaugh/Ford hearing can bring back emotional memories for some sexual assault victims. “Anytime a high profile case like this makes it into the media… survivors who have been struggling for their whole life sometimes end up reliving the experience that they had.”

Allred, a survivor herself, listened to part of Thursday’s hearing. What struck her the most about Dr. Ford’s testimony was when she was asked what she remembers most about the alleged incident from the summer of 1982. Doctor Ford said laughter from Brett Kavanaugh, who would have been 17 at the time, and his friend, Mark Judge.

However, some critics claim Dr. Ford is unreliable since she cannot remember exactly when and where the alleged incident took place. But, as Allred claimed, it is not uncommon for some sexual assault victims to forget those kinds of details.

“Victim memory is a really interesting science,” she said. Allred explained that when a victim is being assaulted, they are in a fight or flight situation. “Physiologically you narrow down, and you’re focused both in your breathing, heart rate… and your visual focus gets really centered around survival. So sometimes the peripheral facts aren’t things people remember, because they’re struggling to survive the situation.”

Allred went on to say that without some kind of time signature, like a clock or calendar at the assault scene, it is sometimes difficult for victims to remember exactly when an attack took place.

The Kavanaugh/Ford hearing lasted more than eight hours Thursday. According to the Associated Press, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Friday morning on Kavanaugh’s nomination, unless Republicans decide to postpone it.

Shannon Rousseau

Shannon Rousseau

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