As Professor Christine Blasey Ford prepares to testify against Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday, supporters have organized a national walkout to show solidarity for Blasey Ford and other survivors of sexual assault. Blasey Ford recently came forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh, which he denies, and she has since been discredited, harassed, and even threatened. The #BelieveSurvivors messaging appears to be in response to questioning the credibility of survivors.
News of the walkout gained traction on social media over the weekend, following the viral hashtag #WhyIDidntReport, highlighting the many reasons women do not come forward after an attack. After #MeToo founder Tarana Burke tweeted the details, which can be found on a Facebook event page, many activists, celebrities, and organizations were quick to join the cause. The event now has the backing of 23 organizations, including the Women's March, MoveOn, Planned Parenthood, National Women’s Law Center, and the Times Up Movement.
“The lack of understanding about a survivor’s state of mind is one reason survivors don’t come forward. The boys club attitudes, rape culture, willful ignorance, misplaced blame & doubt…are also reasons survivors don’t come forward. I believe you, Dr. Blasey Ford. #BelieveSurvivors,” actress Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: SVU tweeted.
The nationwide walkout will begin on Monday, September 24, at 1:00 p.m. EST (10:00 a.m. PST), and go until 2:00 p.m. Those participating are encouraged to wear all black and post a picture to social media with the hashtag #BelieveSurvivors. Participants in the Washington, D.C., area will assemble at the Senate Hart Atrium at 12:30 p.m. EST where they will walk to the steps of the Supreme Court. Those who cannot physically leave their job or school are still encouraged to share the message online.
“Help spread the word: we believe Dr. Blasey Ford. We believe survivors. And we won’t stand for Senate Republicans’ despicable attempts to strong-arm a sexual assault survivor,” the event page reads.