When The Washington Post broke the story that Christine Blasey Ford was the person who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of assault dating back to high school, there were several aspects of the WaPo story that struck me as particularly strange.

First, there was a suggestion that this is a repressed and recovered memory case:

“Years later, after going through psychotherapy, Ford said, she came to understand the incident as a trauma with lasting impact on her life.”

If this is a case of repressed memory, then it changes everything. It’s a convenient explanation for why Ford said nothing to anyone for 30 years despite herself being a clinical psychologist. Repressed and recovered memory, however, is of questionable veracity and admissibility in court.

Second, that repressed memory allegedly was recovered in 2012 during couples’ therapy,

Ford said she told no one of the incident in any detail until 2012, when she was in couples therapy with her husband.

Why in couples therapy, not in individual therapy? That seems like an odd time to recover memory, particularly for a clinical psychologist who likely underwent or practiced various forms of psychological therapy during her long career.  This suggests that perhaps there was some marital problem which implicated an earlier trauma, if this story is true, or invented an earlier trauma as an excuse, if the story is not true.

Third, Ford volunteered the therapist’s notes to WaPo, but only selective portions chosen by Ford:

The therapist’s notes, portions of which were provided by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention Kavanaugh’s name but say she reported that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.

It seems odd for an alleged sexual assault victim to volunteer psychiatric records, particularly since the odious “nuts and sluts” defense so frequently is used against accusers. And why were only selective portions shared? This seems particularly calculating and defensively preemptive.

My gut tells me the therapy records hold a key to what did or did not happen here. Having voluntarily shared a part of those records with a newspaper, it’s hard for Ford to argue confidentiality.

It becomes even more important in light of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s statement today that Ford “is a woman that has been, I think, profoundly impacted, on this..I can’t say that everything is truthful. I don’t know.”

Kavanaugh already has agreed to testify under oath at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday, September 24, 2018. As of this writing, it’s not clear if Ford will appear (though I assume she will).

Without the full couples therapy records Ford already partially shared with the Washington Post, I’m not sure we’ll ever really know how and why this allegedly repressed memory was recovered, or whether it actually is a memory.

[Update 9:30 p.m. – Ford’s lawyer says she will not testify until after an FBI investigation.]


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