Dr. CBS Los Angeles reports Ford, whose appearance was a surprise, was being recognized for her testimony during Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination process.was honored with the ACLU's Roger Baldwin Courage Award at the ACLU of Southern California's annual Bill of Rights dinner Sunday night.
She said: "When I came forward last September, I did not feel courageous. I was simply doing my duty as a citizen. I understood that not everyone would welcome my information, and I was prepared for a variety of outcomes, including being dismissed."
The Bay Area professor alleged Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teens. Kavanaugh, who denied the allegations, was narrowly confirmed along party lines.
Dr. Ford also asked the audience to believe Ambassador Marie Yavanovitch who testified during an impeachment inquiry hearing last week. And she says she chose to accept the award because it was the same distinction given to Anita Hill after Hill testified in Clarence Thomas' confirmation process.
"I'm thankful sharing my experience prompted 200 thousand people from across our country and around the word to send messages of support ... many handwritten, sharing their own story assault and abuse," Ford said.
Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levenson says Ford's testimony was and still is criticized by conservatives: "Some people thought she was lying. Some people thought embellishing. Some people thought there was a there there, but she was making too much of it. Basically, it was a long time ago and she needed to get over it."
But the civil rights group says no one would lie and open themselves up to such public scrutiny.
"She spoke the truth and paid an incredible price for it. She was subjected to incredible vile hate and unspeakable threats," said ACLU Executive Director Hector Villagra.
A number of stars attended the event, including actor Don Cheadle, hit songwriter Diane Warren and actress-singer Selena Gomez.