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#BelieveSurvivors shows internet solidarity for sexual assault survivors
Survivors and allies are urging the nation to listen.
On Monday, protesters of Brett Kavanaugh‘s Supreme Court nomination took to the streets wearing all black, walking out of their workplaces and homes. The walkout, promoted with the hashtag #BelieveSurvivors, was organized to show solidarity with Christine Blasey Ford, who said Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when they were in high school, and Deborah Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh exposed his penis to her at a party in college.
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) September 23, 2018
The effort came after a week of right-wing criticism of Ford and disbelief of her account. Ford has agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has asked that the FBI investigate her claim, and yet, Republican Senators have casted doubt on her account, stating they will advance Kavanaugh’s nomination proceedings regardless of her allegations.
Some conservatives have questioned whether Ford actually recalls the assault as she’s described it, some alleging that, maybe she was assaulted, but that it wasn’t Kavanaugh. Others have outright questioned her reasoning for coming forward more than 30 years later, as if having an assailant who is being considered for the highest court in the nation isn’t reason enough.
Critics attacked Ford, a Palo Alto University professor who has had to flee her home with her two teenage sons and pay for private security, for a week until Ramirez came forward to the New Yorker, with her account published on Sunday.
— Monica Klein (@MonicaCKlein) September 24, 2018
— Josh Rubin (@Rubin_Josh) September 24, 2018
Regardless of when Ramirez came forward, protesters across the country have stood up for her and countless other survivors of sexual harassment and assault, with constituents for Maine Sen. Susan Collins and others showing up at Capitol Hill, urging politicians to block the confirmation and hold Kavanaugh accountable. Reportedly, dozens of student protesters at Yale Law School, Kavanaugh’s alma mater, also protested the confirmation, opposing a “hasty, biased, and incomplete investigation of the Brett Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations,” according to the Cut. The law school had canceled 31 of its classes in anticipation of the protests.
Since Ford came forward, and amid Ramirez’s story being shared publicly, one other woman has come forward with accounts of Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge assaulting women in high school and college. Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, is representing the woman, who says Kavanaugh, Judge, and others purposely got women drunk at college parties to later assault them, with men taking turns one after the other to rape intoxicated women.
Across the U.S., people have documented their walkout efforts with the #BelieveSurvivors hashtag, sharing photos of themselves leaving their workplaces in solidarity with sexual assault survivors, and urging others to listen to these people’s personal accounts of assault and subsequent trauma.
— Aisha Cook (@alwaysaishacook) September 24, 2018
— Betsy Hodges (@BetsyHodges) September 24, 2018
Believe Anita Hill.
Believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Believe Deborah Ramirez.
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) September 24, 2018
Walking out today because I #BelieveSurvivors. Because I believe men who have no respect for women don’t belong on the Supreme Court.
And because this isn’t the world I want my daughters OR my sons to grow up in. We must, we CAN do better than this. pic.twitter.com/yhICghl2hi
— Jen Siebel Newsom (@JenSiebelNewsom) September 24, 2018
I don’t know when I’ll find the words. I’m so grateful to the women who have. #believesurvivors and join this social media walkout to stand behind Dr.Christine Ford and #timesup pic.twitter.com/yMer8f8Dn1
— Chelsea Devantez (@chelseadevantez) September 24, 2018
My friend @SherrodBrown and I walked out in Cleveland with a few of our friends. Too many of us here know what survivors face when they come forward and we are coming together to demand justice. #believesurvivors #stopkavanaugh pic.twitter.com/e1nJVFnbAP
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) September 24, 2018
— abby (@snapplegail) September 24, 2018
At the Hart Senate building in Washington, D.C., protesters silently walked out with fists held up in the air. Tarana Burke, the de-facto founder of the Me Too effort, led the frontline of one of the protests.
— Amanda Thayer (@AThay11) September 24, 2018
— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) September 24, 2018
The masses are walking out of the Senate Hart atrium right now. We stand with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and all survivors!
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) September 24, 2018
— NWLC (@nwlc) September 24, 2018
In other symbolic moves, New York Magazine‘s website the Cut announced it would stop publishing for one hour to show it stands with women including Ford, Ramirez, and other sexual assault survivors. The National Women’s Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign, EMILY’s List, and NARAL Pro-choice America also participated in the walkout, sharing these efforts on social media.
In solidarity with Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and the millions of sexual assault survivors, The Cut is ceasing publishing until 2 p.m. We are participating in the walkout because we #BelieveSurvivors, and we stand with them https://t.co/LH2wXzxGhy #StopKavanaugh pic.twitter.com/MnUtwmaGaH
— The Cut (@TheCut) September 24, 2018
— EMILY's List (@emilyslist) September 24, 2018
The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh would be a slap in the face to survivors across this country. We will NOT stand by and watch a sexual abuser ascend to our nation's highest court to carry out the GOP's anti-woman agenda. #BelieveSurvivors pic.twitter.com/rKYcDtsjY4
— NARAL (@NARAL) September 24, 2018
Today @HRC was proud to join partner organizations and people from across the country in a nationwide walkout in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and all survivors of sexual assault. We #BelieveSurvivors. So must the Senate. pic.twitter.com/W0uYl9haBj
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 24, 2018
Gathering with our allies today at the Senate and getting ready to walk out in support of Deborah Ramirez, Dr. Blasey Ford, and ALL survivors.
— NWLC (@nwlc) September 24, 2018
Others leaders in entertainment moved to believe survivors, too, with the staff of TBS’s Full Frontal with Samantha Bee participating in the walkout, along with the production crew for Grey’s Anatomy. Writers’ rooms for Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow shared photos of their walkout, too. The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend writers’ room also stepped out for the effort.
— Rachel Bloom (@Racheldoesstuff) September 24, 2018
— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) September 24, 2018
On my first day as a television director, I walked out along with my cast and crew in solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and sexual abuse victims worldwide. #DearProfessorFord #metoo #TIMESUP pic.twitter.com/eTMvNWSVm8
— Krista Vernoff (@KristaVernoff) September 24, 2018
— Debbie Allen (@msdebbieallen) September 24, 2018
We here at #ARROW & @LoTWritersRoom wear black in honor of women who have spoken up about assault and harassment, and for the voices who have yet to. You are not alone and women must be heard. #BelieveSurvivors @TIMESUPNOW pic.twitter.com/ep9kkprOTH
— Arrow Writers Room (@ARROWwriters) September 24, 2018
Among celebrities who took part in the walkout were Jane Fonda, Kerry Washington, Allison Janney, Anna Faris, Mimi Kennedy, and Felicia Day. Emmy Rossum documented a minute of silence on her set instead of a walkout, an effort still aligned with Ford, Ramirez, and the other women who have continued to come forward with allegations against Kavanaugh following Ford breaking her silence last week.
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) September 24, 2018
— Felicia Day (@feliciaday) September 24, 2018
— Jane Seymour Fonda (@Janefonda) September 24, 2018
— Allison Janney (@AllisonBJanney) September 24, 2018
— Emmy Rossum (@emmyrossum) September 24, 2018
While the walkout itself might have taken just minutes of silence, or an hour of skipping out on work at most, this moment of protest against Kavanaugh’s confirmation—promoting as radical an idea as believing in the accounts of Ford and Ramirez against a man in power—is sure to be another event contributing to the ripples of change in how the U.S. treats survivors and their assailants.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.