Students and other community members protested the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and supported survivors of sexual assault, as well as those who choose not to identify as survivors, during the “Believe Survivors” walk out on Thursday, October 11.
Taking place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. in front of the Chapel, the walk out was promoted as a survivor-centric space.
Seniors Pamela White, Abbey Curtis, Laia Alonso and junior Olivia Tyndall organized the event with the help of Haven, the Network and Women’s Studies.
White explained that student organizers wished to hold the event in order to acknowledge the feelings of survivors and women.
“We wanted to have a space and time on campus to let survivors know that we hear them and we believe them,” White said. “We think it’s important to support survivors on campus and in general, especially in light of Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court.”
Assistant Professor of Educational Studies Anna Rios-Rojas dismissed her 9:55 educational studies class early in order to support the walk out and allow her students the ability to attend.
“I want to stand in solidarity with survivors in this moment. I want to stand in collective indignation that we, as a country, would choose to reaffirm white violent heteropatriarchy,” Rios-Rojas said. “As a survivor of multiple forms of gender violence, I want to speak back to patriarchal and colonial violence to say, ‘You have defined me, but you do not determine me.’”
Rios-Rojas explained that many of her classes in the Educational Studies department are about questioning what constitutes knowledge.
“So many of my classes in Ed Studies [discuss] how power works to delimit what parades as ‘the truth,’ and what is then cast off as fake news and lies,” Rios-Rojas said. “We always pause around the gendered, raced and classed intersections of these forms of erasure. My hope is that if we can name the erasures, then that might offer us an opening towards other ways of thinking in this world.”
Sophomore Bella Gonzalez explained her decision to attend the walk out and stressed the importance of believing survivors.
“We all should believe survivors when they come forward,” Gonzalez said. “To speak out about an experience is such a brave thing to do, and no one should have to do that with- out a support system. Sexual assault is such a huge problem right now, and the majority of times the perpetrators aren’t being held accountable, which needs to change.”
To continue campus efforts to spread awareness, White said that she is involved in organizing a faculty panel that will take place soon. The faculty panel will discuss the Kavanaugh appointment in relation to the #MeToo movement and the Anita Hill hearings.
Contact Celine Turkyilmaz at [email protected]