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#CancelKavanaugh Protest Gives Platform for Sexual Assault Survivors

Protesters gather on the steps of E. Barrett Prettyman federal courthouse in Washington, D.C. (Clara Romeo)

More than 3,000 protesters marched in Washington, D.C., on Thursday from the E. Barrett Prettyman federal courthouse—where Brett Kavanaugh is a judge—to the Supreme Court, a journey the demonstrators pray Kavanaugh never takes.

The crowd gathered as a show of solidarity with Christine Blasey Ford as well as to demonstrate disapproval of Kavanaugh’s potential rise to the U.S. Supreme Court. The #CancelKavanaugh action culminated in the occupation of the Hart Senate Building, but not before sexual assault survivors and others made their voices heard.

About 300 protesters were arrested, including actress and comedian Amy Schumer.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., addressed the demonstration after reading a new FBI report on Kavanaugh earlier in the day:

This moment is about all of you. All of you are speaking truth to power because you care about the future, you care about children, you care about who is leading this country and who sits on the highest court in the land. I read the [FBI] report today. It was not intended to get to the bottom of this. It was not intended to find the truth. It was intended to be a cover.

Another speaker was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat:  

I am angry on behalf of women who have been told to sit down and shut up one time too many. Yes, I am angry, but let me be clear: I have a plan. It is a three-part plan. Number one, take back the Senate. Number two, take back the House. Number three, return the power to the people where it belongs.

One particularly stirring moment occurred when sexual assault survivors took the stage.

“I am a rape survivor. I’m here from Maine. Sen. [Susan] Collins, do you believe survivors are important? Believe survivors. Believe me,” pleaded Bre Kidmen, a criminal defense lawyer.

Several more survivors followed in speaking, tearfully demanding that their congressional representatives act on their behalf. Republican Sens. Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Jeff Flake of Arizona were called on repeatedly.

Representatives of the Be a Hero Fund urged the crowd to use monetary power to sway Sen. Collins. The fund says it has already raised $1.8 million of a $2 million goal, which will go to the campaign of Collins’ Democratic opponent in 2020 if the senator votes to confirm Kavanaugh.

While most of the action at the protest centered on urging senators to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, one member of the #MeToo movement commented on the cultural significance of the day’s events. Madison Thomas, a youth ambassador to the Women’s March and a sexual assault survivor, described herself to a reporter as “a young college student, not that much older than Christine Blasey Ford was at the time of her assault.” She went on to say:

I saw and felt a lot of pain last week—a resurgence of my own pain and the pain of thousands of women rocked by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony. But I also saw a lot of hope. [Hope] in my male classmates expressing disgust in the way she was treated and in my fellow resisters here protesting.

Clara Romeo
Editorial Assistant
Originally from California, Clara Romeo graduated with honors from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She now works towards her masters in public policy at Georgetown University. She is honored to be a part…
Clara Romeo

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