The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California on Sunday presented Christine Blasey Ford with its courage award.
Ford, a professor and researcher at Stanford University, was thrust into the public spotlight when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last year ahead of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, alleging that the then-Supreme Court nominee had attempted to rape her at a party when they were teenagers.
“When I came forward last September, I did not feel courageous. I was simply doing my duty as a citizen,” Ford said at the organization’s annual Bill of Rights dinner as she accepted her award.
“I had a responsibility to my country, to my fellow citizens, to my students, to my children.”
Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s allegations.
Filmmaker Judd Apatow introduced Ford for her rare public appearance, calling her “a true American hero.”
Ford’s presence at the event was not previously disclosed and she received a long standing ovation and cheers from the crowd as she took the stage to accept the Roger Baldwin Courage Award, according to an ACLU release.
After speaking out against Kavanaugh, Ford faced significant scrutiny, with some critics attacking her character and others arguing her allegations were a partisan attempt to block the Trump nominee.
“I was not prepared for the venom, the persistent attacks,” she said at the event. “I was not prepared to be physically threatened and forced out of my home.”
But in addition to the attacks, others came to support Ford, with many women and survivors of assault protesting Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Ford told the crowd on Sunday that public support gives strength to those who are attacked.
“My voice was just one voice,” she said. “You are many. We are many.”