Ford says the assault took place at a house party in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C.
At that point, she said she ran out of the house and went home, but still does not remember how she got back from the party.
At least three women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in recent weeks, including Ford.
Ramirez claims that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her and shoved his penis in her face while they played a drinking game in a dorm room along with other classmates at Yale University. Hatch has also said the committee should hear from Ford, and "then we should vote".
When the committee's top Democrat, Sen. Ford explained how she was weighing whether to come forward about the incident.
"I can always be convinced", he said. She said that Kavanaugh covered her mouth to mask her screams and that at times she anxious he'd accidentally kill her.
Lawyers for Ford say they have submitted sworn affidavits to the committee from four people who say she told them that Kavanaugh had assaulted her in high school. Dianne Feinstein of California, asked how she could be sure that Kavanaugh was the attacker, Ford said, "The same way I'm sure I'm talking to you right now".
She wrote she has a "firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their turn with a girl inside the room".
Democrats heaped praise on Ford and pointed to gaps in her memory as evidence that she has been truthful, with Illinois Senator Dick Durbin noting that a "polished liar" can create a "seamless story" while a survivor "cannot be expected" to remember every detail.
"The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense". One by one, each GOP senator would make it clear which story he believed - just as all the Democrats gave no doubt as to which story they believed. "Since my nomination in July, there's been a frenzy in the left, to come up with something - anything, to block my confirmation".
Kavanaugh's blistering opening statement was a marked departure from Ford's subdued comments, with the Supreme Court nominee delivering an incensed denial of the allegations, saying he's "never sexually assaulted anyone - not in high school, not in college, not ever".
Kavanaugh was referring specifically to allegations by Julie Swetnick, whose name and allegations became public Wednesday, a day before the hearings.
"There has been a frenzy to come up with something - anything, no matter how far-fetched or odious - that will block a vote on my nomination". "These are last minute smears, pure and simple".
His 45-minute statement was not only a defense of his character and an emphatic denial of the allegations he's faced, but an enraged, nearly uncontrolled indictment of the contentious confirmation process that he had undergone since July. She said Kavanaugh and Judge locked the door, and Kavanaugh proceeded to climb on top of Ford and tried to remove her clothing.