Nearly 50 people gathered in Red Square to demonstrate their support for Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, two women who made allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, as part of a nationwide protest at 1 p.m. Monday.
Over 19,000 Facebook users said they were “going” to the “National Walk Out: Support Dr. Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez” event, organized by 24 political interest groups, including Queer People of Color, GU Women of Color and Black Student Alliance. The Facebook event for the national walkout encouraged those in D.C to join protesters in the Senate Hart Atrium. Participants walked from there to the Supreme Court for a “National Speakout.”
The Georgetown walkout was planned by GU Women of Color, the Black Student Alliance and Queer People of Color.
As sexual assault is an issue affecting women from across different identities and backgrounds, it was necessary for GUWoC to help organize the walkout, GUWoC President Shakera Vaughan (COL ’19) wrote in an email to The Hoya.
“Being that GUWoC’s mission centers around supporting, encouraging, and uplifting women, we wanted to be intentional in making sure that encompassed the many issues and barriers that women face,” Vaughan wrote. “This, of course, includes sexual assault.”
Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez shared allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh in The Washington Post and the New Yorker, respectively. Julie Swetnick brought forward her own allegations two days after the walkout.
Stories of sexual violence shared by women at Georgetown and across the country helped motivate students to organize the walkout on campus, former BSA member Kylen Small (COL ’18) said in the event’s opening speech.
“2018 has been a year of cases coming to light and survivors bravely coming forward, and we want to start the school year right by echoing calls for justice,” Small said.
Students and faculty present at the walkout observed a moment of silence for victims of sexual assault at Georgetown.
The 20-minute walkout was an opportunity for survivors and allies to stand in solidarity on instances of sexual assault, Vaughan said.
“In a time where sexual assault instances are being highly publicized at the Hilltop, it is critical that survivors of sexual assault know that they are supported, believed, and loved,” Vaughan wrote. “This walk out was especially important for Georgetown students because it allowed for a physical visualization of other students expressing solidarity on such a sensitive and emotional topic.”
The walkout protested incidents of sexual assault affecting a wide variety of people, Small said.
“From governing figures to Hollywood executives, our day-to-day relationships, we as students say no to more silence,” Small said in her speech. “When the most intimate boundaries of men and women and gender non-conforming folks are being crossed, we say no.”
After Small finished speaking, several students took turns sharing their thoughts. One survivor thanked the crowd for walking out, and other students offered words of encouragement for survivors and those gathered.
Vaughan said that GUWoC hopes to hold a “Sexual Assault Survivor’s Dinner” later in the fall semester for survivors on campus.