In her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Christine Blasey Ford spoke at length about the impact that the alleged attack by Brett Kavanaugh had on her mental health. Ford testified to the Senate that the experience had caused a profound trauma for her, creating lasting panic and anxiety.
Part of Ford’s testimony centered around a second door which she had built on to her home in Palo Alto. Ford testified that she wanted the door built because, on an emotional level, she needed a second exit to her bedroom. She said the door led to an argument with her husband and that this led to her telling him — while they were in couples therapy — that she had been assaulted back in high school.
Some media outlets have recently claimed that, in fact, the second door had nothing to do with trauma, and everything to do with business; they have claimed that Ford just wanted a second door so that she could more easily rent out a room in the house.
Here’s what you need to know about Christine Ford’s second door:
1. The Fords Got a Permit to Remodel Their Home & Add a Second Door in 2008, Four Years Before They Started Couples Therapy
Christine and Russell Ford initially applied for building permits to do a major remodel of their home back in 2008. The permit shows that Ford added a second door on the home’s master bedroom, in addition to other changes to the house and garage. You can see the plans for the remodeling here.
During her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford said that her husband didn’t like the way the second door looked, and that it led to a disagreement which eventually led her to tell him about the assault. It is not clear why it took the two of them four years to have this conversation. Ford told the Senate,
“I told my husband before we were married that I had experienced a sexual assault. I had never told the details to anyone — the specific details — until May 2012, during a couples counseling session. The reason this came up in counseling is that my husband and I had completed a very extensive, very long remodel of our home and I insisted on a second front door, an idea that he and others disagreed with and could not understand. In explaining why I wanted a second front door, I began to describe the assault in detail. I recall saying that the boy who assaulted me could someday be on the U.S. Supreme Court, and spoke a bit about his background at an elitist all-boys school in Bethesda, Maryland. My husband recalls that I named my attacker as Brett Kavanaugh.”
2. The Fords Rented Their Master Bedroom to a Marriage Counselor and to Students
The Fords did not use their master bedroom as a master bedroom for very long. Ford testified to the Senate that they’re now using it to “host” Google interns. She said, “it now is a place to host Google interns. Because we live near Google, so we get to have — other students can live there.”
Sylvia Adkins Randall, a marriage counselor, confirmed to RealClearInvestigations that she had also used a room in the Ford home to operate her business. Randall is not the marriage counselor who saw the Fords for couples therapy, but she does specialize in trauma and in treating “disturbing memories from the past.” She has called Ford’s testimony about Kavanaugh “credible.”
3. Conservative Pundits Say Ford Was ‘Caught in a Lie’ About the Door
The Gateway Pundit published a story on September 27 titled, “FORD CAUGHT IN MAJOR LIE? — City Remodeling Permits Show Project She Linked to Kavanaugh Was in 2008 NOT 2012.” The piece pointed to the fact that her second door was planned in 2008 — not directly before her meeting with the marriage counselor when she first talked about being attacked by Kavanaugh.
Real Clear Investigations has also written about the controversy about the door. Their report points out that the Fords own a second home in Santa Cruz, not far from the beach. That home has no second door. Real Clear Investigations questioned why Ford was willing to have a single exit to her Santa Cruz home, since she claimed to need a second exit to her bedroom in Palo Alto. The Santa Cruz home has been renovated in order to add decks and a porch, but there has been no second front door added.
Trauma specialists have noted that trauma — and the response to it — is not always logical or consistent.
4. Ford Told an Old Friend She Needs a Second Exit to Feel Safe
Back in July, Ford told several of her close friends about her alleged assault. Jim Gensheimer, a long-time photographer with the Mercury News, spoke to the media about what Ford had told him. He said Ford had told him that she feels the need to always have more than one exit door in her bedroom — in order to avoid feeling trapped. Gensheimer said that this, and other things which he didn’t want to get into, are evidence that the Ford’s life was forever changed by her encounter with Kavanaugh. He also told the LA Times that he remembered Ford deciding not to buy a certain home that didn’t have a second door to the master bedroom.
Gensheimer has known Ford for eight years. You can read more about him, and his history with Ford, here.
During her testimony to the Senate, Ford said that the reason for her second front door was that she was suffering from claustrophobia, anxiety, and PTSD-like symptoms as a result of being assaulted.
5. The Fords’ Renovations Were Extensive and Went Far Beyond the Door
The Fords carried out a major renovation to their Palo Alto home beginning in 2008; you can see the permit and plans here. The remodeling included added a second door to the master bedroom — a move which Ford admitted was not “asethetically pleasing.”
But the Fords also removed a home office that had been attached to the garage and expanded the garage. Then they and added a master bedroom onto the front, with its own front door. The new bedroom’s front door opens onto the street and is perpendicular to another front door.
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