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People Were Struck By How Polite Christine Blasey Ford Was During Her Senate Testimony

“Does that work for you as well?”

Posted on September 27, 2018, at 4:26 p.m. ET

Jim Bourg / Reuters

Christine Blasey Ford gave emotional testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday about her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.

Throughout the hearing, Ford was polite to the lawmakers and an attorney brought in to question her, at some point even making jokes, which many saw as an effort to put the senators at ease.

“Thank you, Sen. Grassley,” Ford said at the beginning of her testimony, referring to the committee’s chair, Sen. Chuck Grassley. “I think after I read my opening statement I anticipate needing some caffeine if that is available.”

CSPAN3 / Via CSPAN3

Later in the hearing, she was polite after expressing that she would like to take a break.

“Does that work for you? Does that work for you as well?” Ford asked Grassley.

“We’re here to accommodate you, not to accommodate us,” the senator said.

“I’m used to being collegial,” Ford responded, before letting out a small laugh.

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She also told Sen. Cory Booker that she wished she could be more helpful.

“Answer for me, how do you feel that all the things that could have been done thoroughly to help this deliberating body have not been honored in this so-called investigation?” the senator asked.

“I wish that I could be more helpful and that others could be more helpful, and that we could collaborate in a way that would get at more information,” Ford responded.

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During her opening statement, Ford also remarked on trying to be “helpful.”

“I truly wish I could be more helpful with more detailed answers to all of the questions that have and will be asked about how I got to the party and where it took place and so forth,” she said.

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Women said that Ford’s behavior — her politeness and small jokes — struck them.

The fact that Christine Ford is testifying about the worst day of her life and she still made a polite little joke about coffee to try to set people at ease damn near broke my heart. #IBelieveChristineBlaseyFord

They also took note of Ford’s use of the word “helpful.”

What's incredible is how Dr. Blasey Ford keeps repeating that she just wants to be "helpful" - it says so much about her & gender politics in America

struck by Dr. Ford’s repeated use of the word “helpful”

To someone else, the way Ford acted was similar to how other women comfort themselves as a means of protecting themselves.

“This is how we survive,” they said.

Men, please note how often Ford has smiled, cracked jokes, and offered to be “helpful,” all around her palpable fear and trauma. This is what so many womxn are doing everyday to cope with your bullshit. All of us, right next to you. This is how we survive. #KavanaughHearings

Another person referred to it as “good girl language.”

So much recognizable good girl language: "I didn't want my parents to know." "I wanted to be helpful." "Does that work for you as well?"

And this person remarked on the terms under which Ford’s politeness was taking place: testimony on sexual assault.

"I'm used to being collegial." -- even testifying about her own trauma, Ford is still trained to be as polite as possible.

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