One thing that sent Christine Blasey Ford to therapy in 2012 was a marital disagreement about a house renovation. Such renovations create the kind of dramatic conflict that can really test a marriage: this is the trite premise of all those house design shows on HGTV. But the story Blasey Ford told was anything but trite. Against the advice of an architect, and against the wishes of her husband, she was insisting that their renovation plans feature two front doors. Two front doors? The architect and the husband objected. So off to therapy she and her husband went. It was there that the feelings that drove her insistence came to the surface. Fittingly, almost poetically, the battle over the doors to her home opened the door to her trauma; and she told her story in therapy. This week, she told it again, in detail, to the nation.

She had been attacked when she was 15, thrown against her will into a bedroom by two 17 year old boys, immobilized on a bed by one, Brett Kavanaugh, who groped her, pressed his body against hers, and tried to remove her clothes. When she screamed for help, he clapped his hand over her mouth to silence her, and made her fear for her life. When asked, at the hearings on Thursday, what she remembered about that day, Blasey Ford said she was haunted by the laughter between the boys and by the moment when she appealed to the second boy for help using her eyes, only to realize he would not intervene to help her.

She also mentioned but did not dwell on another detail. The door of the room into which she was thrust was locked by the boys. When she found an opportunity to escape, she dashed from the bedroom to a bathroom across the hall, locked herself in there, and waited. How long? We do not know. After a time, the boys left the bedroom and, as she so memorably put it, “pinball[ed]” down the stairs. She must have been listening hard to track their movements, deciphering the sounds and inferring their meaning from behind the locked bathroom door. She was not yet out of trouble, after all; she was locked in a bathroom, hiding. She heard her attackers talking and laughing with each other on the stairs and then the noise of a larger conversation, as the boys rejoined the social gathering. Here is where I imagine she must have spent some time calculating. Was it safe yet to try to escape? Had she waited long enough? Were her two attackers now otherwise engaged? Distracted by drinking and hanging around with their friends? Were they far enough from the front door that she could get by them and make it safely out of the house? What courage it must have taken her to open that locked bathroom door, risk the descent down the stairs, and then run out the front door to the street. She did not mention such details on Thursday. She may not remember. But she recalled in her statement her relief as she realized, outside, that the two boys were not coming after her. That says it all.

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