On Monday, people across the US walked out of schools and workplaces in solidarity with the women who have accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
The nationwide protests – represented by the hashtag #BelieveSurvivors – came just a day after new allegations of an assault involving Kavanaugh came to light.
At least two women have directly accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in high school or college.
California professor Christine Blasey Ford claims Kavanaugh attempted to force himself on her at a party in high school when they were teenagers. Ford was the first person to come forward with allegations against the Supreme Court nominee.
On Sunday, The New Yorker dropped a bombshell story with an additional allegation against Kavanaugh from Deborah Ramirez, who attended Yale at the same time as him. Ramirez alleges Kavanaugh shoved his penis in her face and exposed himself to her at a party in college.
Kavanaugh has fervently denied both allegations and says he’s prepared to defend himself before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Both Kavanaugh and Ford are set to testify before the committee on Thursday.
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the committee’s chairman, said on Sunday the committee will “evaluate” Ramirez’s allegations against Kavanaugh.
Additionally, Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels, claims he has evidence Kavanaugh participated in multiple gang rapes in high school.
The #BelieveSurvivors walkout on Monday was initially planned after Ford’s allegation against Kavanaugh was known publicly. Ramirez’s accusation seems to have emboldened participants.
The demonstrations on Capitol Hill were especially intense. Here’s how the day’s events unfolded.
Eliza Relman contributed reporting.
The #BelieveSurvivors walkout occurred across the US on Monday, but perhaps most notably on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in congressional office buildings and outside of the Supreme Court building.
Protesters wore black and carried signs that said #BelieveSurvivors.
Among the protesters on Capitol Hill were hundreds of Yale Law students and some faculty members.
Kavanaugh attended Yale for undergrad and law school, which has put the university in the national spotlight since Ford’s allegations were made public
Georgia Travers, a student in her third year at Yale Law School, told Business Insider at least 115 of her fellow law students travelled to the capital to participate in the walkout.
Travers said she felt it was important to attend the protest because “everything [Kavanaugh] and his ideology represents defies the life’s work of many professors and undermines the humanity of many students at Yale Law School… and, of course, also many Americans.”
“We all planned to go before Deborah Ramirez’s allegations came out,” Travers said, adding that Ramirez’s allegation contributes “to the gravity of the situation.”
Travers said that many of the Yale Law students who attended were upset with faculty who’ve endorsed Kavanaugh, but also noted dozens of professors cancelled classes so students could attend Monday’s protests.
“Most perpetrators of sexual violence are repeat offenders and it’s a pattern,” Travers added. “We believe we can draw a straight line from [Kavanaugh’s] conduct in high school and college to his extreme conservative beliefs that women should not have control of their bodies; that certain people are less valuable in our society or have less of right to be heard and listened to.”
Even before the sexual assault allegations were made public, critics opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination for the Supreme Court over concerns he’d work to undermine women’s reproductive rights.
Read more about opposition to Kavanaugh here.
Protesters carried signs that seemed to touch on concerns over Kavanaugh’s stance on abortion and women’s rights more generally.
Some of the walkout participants became emotional outside the offices of senators after fellow demonstrators told personal stories of sexual assault.
The entire hallway is in tears. We are at a moment in history where women have to repeat their trauma to the masses to literally beg Senators to vote with moral clarity. #StopKavanaugh #BelieveSurvivors #BeAHero pic.twitter.com/Ky26a9fPTf
— Helen Brosnan (@HelenBrosnan) September 24, 2018
Travers described the atmosphere in the capital as “tense” and said hundreds of police were in the area.
Police reportedly arrested dozens of protesters outside the offices of a number of senators.
Source: USA Today
“Many people we are with are risking arrest,” Travers said of her fellow demonstrators, noting that the Yale Law students in attendance were largely working to avoid arrest due to concerns over their futures in the legal world.
People also demonstrated against Kavanaugh and in solidarity with his accusers in other major US cities, including New York City.
Amid all of this, the Trump administration has vehemently defended Kavanaugh and presented the accusations against him as politically-motivated attempts to damage his reputation.
President Donald Trump on Monday said the allegations against Kavanaugh are “totally political” and said he’s still with him “all the way.”
Kavanaugh and Ford are set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. The Supreme Court nominee vehemently denies the allegations against him.
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