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Viewers Around The Country React To Ford And Kavanaugh Hearings


Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh's testimonies in front of the Senate judiciary committee lasted nine hours and talked about some of the most intimate and painful things a person can discuss in front of a national audience. We asked you what it was like to witness Thursday's historic moment. The responses we got were overwhelmingly from women. And from what they told us, the hearings unearthed some long-buried memories, painful ones. In Alaska, the hearing started before sunrise. But Nicolene Jordan wasn't going to miss it.

NICOLENE JORDAN: I had my alarm set for 5:15 a.m. I showered and went to a friend's house to watch it on her bigger flat-screen. The hearing started at 6 a.m. here. We were both in tears watching Dr. Ford.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Jordan says it felt essential for her to watch because she is herself a survivor of sexual assault. In fact, many of the people who wrote in were assault survivors. And listening to Dr. Ford inspired them to share their own stories. Here's Shannon O'Hara from Phoenix.

SHANNON O'HARA: The day of the Kavanaugh-Ford testimony was my birthday. It was also 33 years after I was forcibly raped by an executive of the company I worked for when I was just 24 years old. And it was the first day I felt like I might see a measure of justice, even if it was just by proxy.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Nielsen says 20 percent of U.S. households tuned in to watch at any given time. And that doesn't include people watching at the airport or listening on the radio or tuning in at work, like Kelsey Millar.

KELSEY MILLAR: I felt smothered and trapped in the office and had to leave. I went home and bawled. I am once again that 15-year-old girl begging for someone to listen to her, desperate to be heard and believed. This is not political for so many of us. This is history.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Carrie Perry listened to Christine Blasey Ford's testimony on her way to drop off her 13-year-old daughter at school in Healdsburg, Calif.

CARRIE PERRY: And it's a 20-minute drive, which always gives me the opportunity, as she says, to lecture her on life. And I took the opportunity to explain to my daughter why women, like myself, don't come forward and how brave Dr. Ford is in coming forward. I want my daughter to be strong and stand up for her rights and for other women's rights.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Stephanie Boeninger teaches at Providence College in Rhode Island. Her American drama class has 12 students, all women.

STEPHANIE BOENINGER: We were reading "A Streetcar Named Desire," so questions of sexual assault and consent were already on the table for the day. And it felt impossible to ignore the major cultural conversation that was happening outside the walls of our classroom.

(SOUNDBITE OF KAKI KING'S "BOWEN ISLAND") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.