In a video statement for the Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year Awards, Christine Blasey Ford makes her first public appearance since testifying against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault.
Ford presents the Inspiration of the Year award to lawyer and former gymnast Rachael Denhollander, who was the first woman to publicly speak out against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar in 2016.
“Her courage inspired other survivors to end their silence, and we all know the result,” Ford says.
Hundreds of women, including Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, came forward and shared their stories of abuse. Nassar was later sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.
Ford continues, “Rachael Denhollander, I am in awe of you, and I will always be inspired by you. In stepping forward, you took a huge risk, and you galvanized future generations to come forward, even when the odds are seemingly stacked against them.”
Thanks to Denhollander and other survivors and activists, including Ford herself, this year has involved continuing conversations about sexual assault, healing, and accountability. As we look to 2019, it’s important to see how far we’ve come — and how we can move forward.
The full Sports Illustrated ceremony will premiere on NBCSN on Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. EST.