Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser

Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser
© Greg Nash

Dozens of progressive groups are planning to participate in walkouts and demonstrations on Monday in support of the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assaulting her in the 1980s.

Over 80 groups, which include coalitions against sexual violence and women's organizations, are planning to stage walkouts nationwide at 1 p.m. on Monday afternoon, the time when Christine Blasey Ford was originally scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the alleged assault. 

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Though the Senate Judiciary Committee canceled the Monday hearing, the progressive groups will move forward with protests at that time and hold another batch later in the week. 

Demonstrators will gather in front of the Hart Senate Office Building atrium at 12 p.m and then host a "survivor's speakout" at 1 p.m. on the steps of the Supreme Court, allowing people the opportunity to talk about their own experiences with sexual assault and violence, according to a press release. 

Meanwhile, survivors across the country have been asked to wear black and walk out of their "workplaces, homes and classrooms" at 1 p.m. on Monday. The press release from NARAL encourages participants to "post photos online with the hashtag #BelieveSurvivors."

"Dr. Blasey Ford has bravely come forward with her story of sexual assault at the hands of Brett Kavanaugh, despite knowing this will come at great cost to her life and her family," the NARAL press release reads. "Her willingness to testify in the face of relentless bullying, victim-blaming, and unfair Committee process by Republicans is yet another symbol of her courage and her willingness to speak her truth. She is not alone. Allies want her to know they have her back."

Multiple celebrities, including Samantha Bee, Alyssa Milano and Chelsea Handler, have indicated on social media that they will take part in the protests. 

"Together with many brave survivors, we plan to show up in numbers the Senate cannot ignore to say: Women across America have had enough -- it’s time to cancel Kavanaugh,” said Tamika Mallory, co-president of Women’s March, one of the participating organizations, in the press release.

"We’re channeling our anger, our experiences, our concern into sharp, focused action," she said. "Next week, from the halls of the Capitol, to every community housing a Senate district office, we will be present and we will be watching, offering our unwavering support and solidarity to Dr. Blasey Ford. We’re more determined than before. That makes us more powerful than before.”

Women's March, along with dozens of other progressive groups, is planning another round of demonstrations for Thursday. Demonstrators will begin a procession at the steps of the Supreme Court on Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. and host a press conference in the Hart Senate Office Building atrium at 9 a.m. They will then host a moment of silence to "support survivors" at 12:30 p.m. on Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., according to a press release.

Those outside of D.C. are being encouraged to stage similar protests at lawmakers' offices across the country. 

Progressive groups have mobilized in support of survivors ever since Ford went public with her allegations of sexual assault against President TrumpDonald John TrumpAustralia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israeli capital, won't move embassy Mulvaney will stay on as White House budget chief Trump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law MORE's high court pick last week. 

Last week, groups of survivors stood outside of lawmakers' offices on Capitol Hill last week and shared their stories of assault. Before that, more than 1,600 survivors of sexual abuse and their loved ones signed onto a letter urging the Senate to reject Kavanaugh's nomination. 

Ford says Kavanaugh forced himself on her during a party in the 1980s, groping her over her clothes and putting his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming. She has said that the attack caused her decades of emotional trauma. Kavanaugh has denied the accusation. 

Kavanaugh and Ford are set to testify on Thursday.