“How are you so sure that it was he?”
Ever since Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old psychology professor, alleged she was sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh more than 30 years ago, people have, again and again, questioned how she could be sure of her memory. And today, she finally got to explain—with the precision of a scientist, with the authority of a professor. Because that is who she is.
That question early on from Senator Dianne Feinstein—“How are you so sure it was he?”—was one she must have been anticipating.“The same way I’m sure I’m talking to you right now. Basic memory functions,” Ford answered, and then she explained how neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and epinephrine affect memory. “The trauma-related experience is locked there, whereas other details kind of drift,” she concluded in her answer.
This is indeed how memory of a traumatic experience works. Memory does not function like a videotape. A victim will zero in on certain details. “The emotion is so strong that the fragments can become untethered from time and place,” as The New York Times reports. “They may persist in memory even as other relevant details—the exact date, the conversation just before the attack, who else was in the room—fall out of reach.”