“We believe Christine Ford!”
Dozens of feminist activists blocking the entrances to Senate offices yesterday chanted in support of the courageous woman who came forward late last week with sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Over 50 protestors were arrested during the action opposing the D.C. Circuit Judge’s nomination—but feminists demanding justice for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in the wake of her harrowing revelations refuse to be silenced.
Dozens of survivors and allies were just arrested for occupying the Senate and saying:
— UltraViolet (@UltraViolet) September 20, 2018
Senator Chuck Grassley, the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee that has been holding preliminary confirmation hearings with Kavanaugh, initially delayed a vote scheduled for this Thursday for the body on whether to advance his nomination to the full Senate floor. He scheduled Blasey Ford to testify Monday before the body, but she is demanding a full investigation into her allegations is conducted by the FBI before she speaks to the lawmakers. Feminists standing in support and solidarity with Blasey Ford have been speaking out on social media and in the streets to demand a trauma-informed path forward in the confirmation process that shows respect for survivors and upholds the integrity of the Court.
“Women are not going to allow this to happen again,” an activist named Lauren declared at the Capitol Hill protest. “What happened to Anita Hill then was not okay. What’s happening to Dr. Ford now is not okay.”
Hands in zip-ties, heads held high.
We do this for our sisters. For our mothers, our daughters. For all the women who came before us and all the women who will come after us. #CancelKavanaugh #WeBelieveChristine pic.twitter.com/8BNADVcVJx
— Women's March (@womensmarch) September 20, 2018
Since coming forward, Blasey Ford has become a target for vicious harassment and debasing personal attacks. She and her family have relocated due to death threats she’s receiving from strangers, and her online accounts have been hacked. Kavanaugh and his supporters, including some Congressional lawmakers, have attempted to call the allegations a case of “mistaken identity” and insinuated that she was fabricating the story or is “mixed-up.”
Even President Trump has weighed in, declaring that Blasey Ford should have come forward 30 years ago—an ignorant remark that led users across Twitter to share their stories of silence with the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport. Their heartbreaking stories illustrate the obstacles survivors like Blasey Ford confront in coming forward and the consequences they face speaking their truth.
My daughter was raped by an acquaintance as a teen. She didn’t tell us, her loving parents, for 6 months because she was in shock and ashamed. We haven’t filed charges 3 years later because she‘s afraid of retribution from her attacker and of being called a liar by men like you. https://t.co/ikInXYta6W
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) September 21, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport. The first time it happened, I was 7. I told the first adults I came upon. They said “Oh, he’s a nice old man, that’s not what he meant.” So when I was raped at 15, I only told my diary. When an adult read it, she accused me of having sex with an adult man.
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) September 21, 2018
I was 17. Raped by a friend. I was confused. In denial. Afraid. His parents were richer & better connected than my parents. He was a "good" student. Ppl liked him. The only friend I told–responded w: "He wld never do that." I didn't think anyone would help me. #WhyIDidntReport https://t.co/YbCuIMg07M
— Abigail Hauslohner (@ahauslohner) September 21, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport He was a very handsome family friend, I took a motorcycle ride w/him. He drove to a cornfield and raped me. I was a virgin, 17 yrs old. Never told my parents. I don't remember the exact date, or cornfield like Trump expects me to, but it tears me up every day!!!
— Deb Vermaas (@debv219) September 21, 2018
Because I was 10. Then 11. Then 12. Then 13. Then 14. Then 15. Then 16. I was just happy that it stopped. And I still don't talk about it. #WhyIDidntReport
— akila radhakrishnan (@akilaGJC) September 21, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport Because I was too young to have a name for what he did. Because I was afraid I'd be punished. Because I was afraid no one would believe me. Because he was a family friend. Because he was my mother's boyfriend. Because he was my coach. Because… #MeToo
— Chivas Sandage (@ChivasSandage) September 21, 2018
“It took me years to come forward,” an activist explained at yesterday’s Senate protest. “I understand why women take so long to come forward. The treatment Christine Ford is experiencing right now proves it. It’s the exact reason survivors don’t feel safe to come forward.”
Grassley, who has stated that he feels he is giving Ford a chance at a fair hearing, instructed Blasey Ford to make a decision by 10 p.m. today about whether she would testify next week, despite the failure of lawmakers to launch an investigation. She has not yet responded to the request.
As the controversy continues to unfold, feminists don’t plan to stop fighting for Blasey Ford—and all of the survivors like her who are too often silenced and shamed in their pursuit of justice. Women’s March has tweeted that they will resume protests Monday.
“You only come forward when you have no other choice, because the alternative is too terrifying to imagine,” Christine, one of many survivors who shared her own story at yesterday’s protest, declared defiantly to the crowd. “Chuck Grassley, you don’t know me—but you know hundreds of women just like me who have never said a word.”