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Christine Blasey Ford says she's 'thankful' to have started a national conversation about sexual assault

Washington(CNN) Christine Blasey Ford, whose allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh rocked his confirmation hearing last year, said Sunday that although coming forward to tell her story was traumatic, she's "thankful" it started a larger conversation about the subject.

In remarks after accepting an award from the American Civil Liberties Union in Southern California, Ford reflected on her experience testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and said she will continue the work of "protecting sexual assault survivors and preventing sexual assault."

"I'm thankful that sharing my experience prompted over 200,000 people from across our country and around the world to send messages of support. Many handwritten, sharing their own stories of assault and abuse," she said. "That's why it means so much to me not just to be recognized by you tonight, because I know you will continue the work of protecting sexual assault survivors and preventing sexual assault.

She also said during that time she did not feel "courageous."

"I did one thing -- and when I came forward last September, I did not feel courageous. I was simply doing my duty as a citizen, providing information to the Senate that I believed would be relevant to the Supreme Court nomination process," she said."I thought anyone in my position would of course do the same thing."

She added she understood that her information would not be welcome and that she was prepared to be dismissed. She said she was not prepared for physical threats.

"I understood that not everyone would welcome my information, and I was prepared for a variety of outcomes, including being dismissed," she said. "I was not prepared for the venom, the persistent attacks, the vilification, the loss of personal privacy and the collateral damage to my friends and my family. I was not prepared to be physically threatened, or be forced out of our home for over three months."

Ford nearly derailed Kavanaugh's confirmation to the high court last fall when she accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegations and was narrowly confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Her remarks on Sunday came a few days after Kavanaugh made his first big public speech since his confirmation hearing. During his speech before the conservative Federalist Society Thursday night, Kavanaugh never mentioned Ford by name but he spoke about the gratitude he felt for those who stood by him and became emotional at one point when discussing the impact on one of his daughters.

At another point, he said when he signed up for the process he knew it would be ugly but "not that ugly."

As black tie guests arrived for the event, they had to walk by a large electronic billboard replaying Ford's testimony in a protest arranged by her supporters.

CNN's Ariane de Vogue contributed to this report.
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