FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. -- The testimony of Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, Dr Christine Blasey Ford, is now sparking public officials to come forward with their own stories of survival.
Delegate Kathleen Murphy shared her story for the first time.
"It's taken me a long time to stand here and say that I am a survivor. I'm a survivor. I was a victim of sexual assault in college, so I kind of understand what Dr. Blasey Ford is saying. This is the first time in public I've ever said this," said Del. Murphy, (D) 34th.
The lawmaker is used to speaking in public, but this was hard. She struggled with her emotions as she looked out into a small crowd of supporters and reporters at the Kings Park Library in Burke. Four cameras were rolling, waiting on her next word.
"You are the first people who I have ever admitted this to. I know what it's like to hide. I know what it's like to know that people probably won't believe you. If you tell them. Because he's such a great guy. He's such a nice guy how could you say something that mean? Guess what? When they're alone with you, in a room,or a car, or where ever, maybe they're not such a great guy. And I think we need to wake up. I'm here because the bravery of that woman is contagious. It is contagious. That's why I'm here," said Murphy.
"I believe that when we stand together, when we stand together side by side, when we look at our past and can acknowledge what happened, when we can say it, out load, that we are victims of abuse or domestic violence, that we demonstrate bravery. But we also demonstrate that we can move forward and win," said Murphy.
Fairfax County held the event as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and their "Make The Call" [703-360-7273] campaign urging people to stop domestic violence and sexual assault for your friend, your neighbor, yourself.
Fairfax Sheriff Stacey Kincaid told her story.
"I was a witness, I was a victim. I am a survivor. It happened to me and it could happen to you. When I was three-years-old and my little brother was just a baby, my mother and father divorced. My mother remarried 6-7 years later. Everything seemed fine, we had a beautiful home....No one knew what went on behind closed doors. That man she married beat her, he beat my brother, and he beat me. He blamed and shamed her to the point that she actually believed that it was her fault."
"I remember calling the police many times. They would come, and nothing happened. Nothing happened because my mother would say, everything is OK, we just had a little disagreement, because she actually believed that it was her fault. I, of course, would get beaten for making the call to the police."
"This went on for seven years. Finally during the middle of the night, we escaped. We fled from our beautiful home in McLean with a life, everything thought we were living such a great and wonderful life. But we fled. We went to a hotel and we were homeless. It took a lot of time and we finally rebuilt our lives."
Delegate Mark Levine (D)-45th told his family's painful story.
"Twenty years ago, in June of '96, my sister told me that her husband had threatened to kill her. To my everlasting shame, I didn't think he'd do it. In my defense, she didn't think he'd do it either. We were wrong," said Levine.
"My sister had discovered, she had two children, she was 33-years-old, age 2 and 6, She discovered that her husband had been paying off a woman he'd sexually harassed at his law firm. She didn't know about it because there was a non-disclosure agreement, we're learning a lot of about those these days. She found out about it, she confronted him about it, she had an appointment with a divorce attorney, Friday, August 16, 1996 that she never showed up for," said Levine. The Washington Post profiled Levine's story in 2015.
Levine said her sister's husband ripped his niece from her grandmother's arms crying and screaming, and took the kids on the run. They eventually wound up in Mexico.
"Actually, the murder of my sister was just the beginning of the pain for my family because we had to get those kids back. She was gone but we had to save their lives. I come from a family of lawyers, we are highly educated, we are not poor. It took us ten years to get justice. Ten long years," said Levine.