Around 40 people gathered on the State House steps Monday afternoon to denounce the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court after two women have publicly accused him of sexually assaulting them decades ago.
“The idea of a serial sexual assaulter being one of the ultimate arbiters of rule of law here in this country is even more unthinkable than a president who brags about sexually assaulting women,” said Gena Frank, the legislative and political director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, which organized the protest. “It is unacceptable, and we will not stand for it.”
Frank stood before the protesters along with state representatives Mike Connolly and Jay Kaufman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez. The four of them spoke to the crowd, recognizing their activism and criticizing what they see as a lack of response from many politicians on both the local and federal levels.
“Sexual assault and harassment is a sickness in our culture, and we have tolerated what is intolerable for way too long,” Gonzalez told the protesters. “We need to stand up. We need to support survivors. We need to hold those who engage in this horrific conduct accountable, and not just the people who engage in it, but the institutions who facilitate it and enable it.”
Kavanaugh was nominated in July by President Trump to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. In mid-September, after Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation hearings, an allegation of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford, a high school classmate of his, became public. A second such allegation became public days later, from Deborah Rodriguez, a classmate of Kavanaugh at Yale University.
Protesters and speakers at the State House praised the two women for coming forward.
Some held homemade signs that read “We believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford” and “We still believe Anita Hill,” who in 1991 accused now-Justice Clarence Thomas of sexually harassing her.
“I know survivors [of sexual misconduct]; I am one myself, and this is a very emotional time, and it’s time to take a stand and to continue to stand up against the barrage of really discouraging and infuriating news that we’re getting,” said protester Emily Cherry, 26, of Jamaica Plain. “I don’t want this to become the new normal — and it feels like it is, unless people show up . . . This is what we need. We need to mobilize now more than ever.”
NARAL planned to hold a vigil at 7 p.m. Monday on City Hall Plaza, Frank said. Participants will hear from survivors and activists in solidarity with victims of sexual misconduct nationwide.