‘This Is Hard': #MeToo Founder Tarana Burke Sits Behind Ford During Senate Hearing

Though not in the room with Christine Blasey Ford, other celebrities rallied behind Brett Kavanaugh's accuser on social media

The founder of the #MeToo movement is behind Christine Blasey Ford Thursday, sitting in the hearing room as Ford testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee on her sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Tarana Burke tweeted from the Dirksen Senate Building and shared a photo of her view from the audience. Using the hashtags #WeBelieveDrFord and #WeBelieveSurvivors, she expressed support for Ford during her emotional opening statement

“Listening to this women’s voice shake as she pushes through this moment…my heart,” the New York-based activist wrote. 

“This is hard,” Burke wrote in a separate tweet as questioning began. 

Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation is in jeopardy after Ford accused the judge of sexually assaulting her when they were teens in the 1980s. Burke is one of many public figures who has said she believes Ford’s claim. 

Burke launched the #MeToo movement about a decade ago to show solidarity with those affected by sexual assault and to help empower them. The hashtag and movement has gained monumental steam this year as men and women come forward with their own experiences of sexual misconduct. 

Burke specifically referenced committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who apologized to both Ford and Kavanaugh in his opening statement “for the way you’ve been treated.” Ford and Kavanaugh have both said they’ve faced attacks on their character, past and credibility after Ford’s claim was made public. Grassley also blamed Democrats for making Ford’s allegation public so late in the confirmation process. 

“I didn’t come here for civil disobedience but Grassley is wearing me thin…” Burke tweeted.

Protesters gathered at Capitol Hill Thursday to urge the Senate to reject the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Many of the protesters said they were survivors of sexual assault. About 50 people were arrested.

Actress Alyssa Milano was also sitting behind Ford. She tweeted photos from the hearing room and wrote, "I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford."

Milano has has helped propel the #MeToo movement into the national spotlight this last year and has shared her own stories of sexual assault. After President Donald Trump questioned why Ford didn't report her assault at the time she said it happened, Milano offered herself an example of other women not reporting assaults. She tweeted details of an attack she said happened as a teen and said it took her 30 years to tell her parents. Many others used the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport at the time as well.

As Kavanaugh testified after Ford, Milano could be seen on camera sitting behind the judge. She tweeted another photo of her viewing and commented on Kavanaugh's emotional and fiery statements.

"I will say this...if a woman were to yell, interrupt and cry while being questioned, people would call her unhinged or say she had a melt down," she wrote.

Though not in the room with Ford, other celebrities rallied behind Kavanaugh's accuser on social media.

Actress Ashley Judd, who accused disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and claimed he hurt her career after her rejections, tried to support Ford's testimony that she does not remember how she got to or from the party where she said the assault happened.

"I do NOT know how I got home after I was raped at 15. No memory of it. Neither does she. #ChristinaBlaseyFord," Judd wrote on Twitter.

And actress Busy Philipps stood as another example of a person who is assaulted as a child and doesn't speak out for years. She shared a photo of herself at 14, the age she said she was raped.  

"It's taken me 25 years to say those words. I wrote about it in my book. I finally told my parents and sister about it 4 months ago. Today is the day we are silent no more. All of us. I'm scared to post this. I can't imagine what Dr. Ford is feeling right now," Philipps said.

Sally Field, who revealed in her recently published memoir that she is a survivor of sexual abuse, wrote, "Out of the blue, a hero steps up and I'm in awe. I know the pain of these kinds of memories, Dr. Ford. Memories that are indelibly imprinted on your brain no matter how many years go by. I, like millions of women across America, are behind you and thank you profoundly."

Mariska Hargitay, whose character on "Law and Order: SVU" investigates sex crimes, also created the Joyful Heart Foundation, which offers resources to survivors of sexual violence. She wrote on Twitter that she is "sending strength and courage and self-care to survivors today, as I carry you and your stories in my heart."

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 provides people in distress, or those around them, with 24-hour support. The Crisis Text Line allows people to text 741-741 to connect with crisis counselors.

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