(Editor’s note: The Sentinel Newspapers conducted an interview with a woman who recently came forward to speak with us regarding events that occurred during the time former Georgetown Prep student and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh went to high school. We have authenticated her background and offered her anonymity because we believe her voice deserves to be heard and we respect her desire for privacy. For the purposes of this interview we will call her Elizabeth. She is married and has been for more than 20 years. She has more than one child but said she wanted to speak out for her teenage daughter and “everyone else’s daughter including my mother’s daughter.”)
Elizabeth grew up in Montgomery County. In retrospect she said life in Bethesda was one of privilege, “though I did not realize it when I was younger.”
Raised in a “very strict” Catholic family, she remembers her First Communion dress with pride. “It was white and had lace, but it was understated and my mother told me how beautiful I looked in it.”
She went to private Catholic schools her entire life. In high school she was shy, but traveled in the same social circles as both Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“I knew them both and liked them both though we didn’t see each other often,” she said.
As a 15-year-old in the early 80s Elizabeth remembers riding with friends through Damascus during the Fall of 1982 when the Ku Klux Klan handed out flyers. She remembers a group of kids from Olney she read about in the local newspaper who were her age and got arrested for being part of a burglary ring. “These were not innocent times,” she said. “I read news reports from members of Congress who said there wasn’t much going on back then and how innocent everything was. Like there’s no way this went on. Well, they’re lying or they lived under a rock.”
Mostly, she said, she remembers how boys and girls interacted at the time. “There were people who got away with everything. And there were people who didn’t. If you had money, or were on the winning football team, or both, you didn’t have limits. Everyone else did.”
She was told boys often acted out and to be careful. Her mother warned her about boys who got too “handsy” and was told as a Catholic girl how to politely rebuke them. Her friends warned her about the “nice boys” who would change when they had something to drink. “I thought maybe they got angry. At first I didn’t know what they were talking about.”
She found out soon enough. “I’m not saying every boy was like that,” she explains. “But I ran into more than one who did something inappropriate.” It was usually verbal, but sometimes physical and Elizabeth said she kept herself away from “those boys” when she could and often had a girl friend with her, “because it was always safer than being alone,” she explained.
“We weren’t a wild bunch, but if we had a whiff of parents going away for the weekend, we had a ‘parent’s going away’ party. We didn’t always know the house though we knew the neighborhood and we’d have to go from house to house looking for a familiar car.”
For Elizabeth the allure was the social atmosphere of being with friends and talking without supervision and without judgment from adults. “We put on music. There was Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Talking Heads. We’d dance. And I didn’t even like beer, but it was free and we’d drink and dance.”
Elizabeth said she infrequently saw Brett Kavanaugh during this time – often at house parties. “He was cute. He was always nice,” she said. One night she ran across an apparently inebriated Brett Kavanaugh and things went differently then. Previously, he had always been nice to her. “ But not that night. He was drunk. He was obnoxious and crude. I had a friend with me and we left. His football buddies were laughing at us. Maybe they were laughing at him, but I didn’t take it that way and they didn’t do anything to keep him from being a jerk.”
From that point on Elizabeth said she steered clear of Kavanaugh and didn’t see any more sexually explicit behavior because, “I didn’t want to be around those guys.” She was not present at the party described by Ford – or doesn’t believe she was. She also said she never saw Kavanaugh assault anyone.
But, from her experience, she said she has no problem believing Dr. Ford’s allegations and said Ford should be heard without politics being involved. “I don’t think that’s possible today. I’m afraid for my daughter. How do we make this less politicized? People are criticizing her for coming forward, but she moved to California. He wasn’t in her life. Now he’s everywhere and could be part of the Supreme Court. It was just high school, but that kind of trauma lasts and no one should be judged for coming forward as she did. It took great courage. Maybe he genuinely doesn’t remember what happened because he blacked out. He deserves to be heard too. He shouldn’t be convicted without being heard either.”
Elizabeth says she knows all too well about the resulting trauma inflicted by a sexually aggressive boy. It happened to her the following year with a boy from a Catholic high school. “They’re all the same. Privileged, spoiled, powerful and unaccountable. They can get away with anything.”
Traveling in the backseat of a car to a keg party at a farm off of Darnestown road “That today is a subdivision in a cow pasture,” a young boy became very aggressive with her. “I had known him since we were kids,” she explained. “He grabbed me. I was scared. I was in the backseat of the car and he kept telling me ‘No’ means ‘Yes,’ every time I told him to stop.”
She never made it to the party. When the car slowed for a stop light in Rockville, she said she opened the passenger door and jumped out. “I walked all the way home to Bethesda,” she said. “How stupid was I?”
She didn’t tell her parents. She didn’t tell her friends. She didn’t tell anyone for years until she saw the boy’s grown sister at a local Giant Super Market. “I put it behind me and then it all came back. I told my husband and I cried – this was 20 years later. It stays with you.”
After Dr. Ford came forward Elizabeth decided against filing a complaint, but said she spoke with The Sentinel because she wants “real issues” to be discussed.
“It’s about privilege and how we take it for granted and use it,” she said.
“We looked down on the public school kids. We looked down on pot smokers. That wasn’t socially acceptable in my crowd. We grew up in a culture of privilege. We all came from great, comfortable homes and almost everyone I hung around with was white. The right pedigree meant we got away with it. The cops chased us from one place to another – but they didn’t arrest us. They knew our parents – the judges and lawyers and high paid professionals in the county. It was a small club in a large county and we were at the top of the pyramid. Brett Kavanaugh was part of that crowd. I was. All of my friends were. But the question I ask myself today is, in light of everything that goes on do we want someone sitting in judgment of everyone else who has never had to face the consequences everyone else faces?”
She said she will remain anonymous because she doesn’t want her “life torn apart. And I think the issue isn’t about me. It’s about the conditions that allow the privileged attitude toward women to continue to this day.”