About 300 demonstrators gathered outside the Massachusetts State House on Friday night to protest the anticipated confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the wake of allegations of sexual assault and his angry denials at last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.
Screaming chants like “Down with Kavanaugh, you are not above the law,” the protesters marched from Beacon Hill through the city around 8 p.m., gathering in front of the Edward W. Brooke courthouse.
Sexual assault survivors addressed the crowd, saying the confirmation would send the wrong message to victims of sexual violence.
“I am sad. I am frustrated,” Tori Bilcik of Believe Survivors Boston told the crowd. “But most of all I am furious.”
Other women expressed frustration and “rage exhaustion” and questioned whether their voices would be heard – but said they felt they had to keep showing up to demonstrate.
“This whole process has just made me very angry, and like most women, I’ve had terrible experiences with sexual harassment, “ said Claire Sadar, 35, of Brighton, who held a sign showing a picture of US Senator Susan Collins and the words, “The Patriarchy Persists because women are complicit.”
“This is something that’s just personally offensive to see that even other women will be dismissive of people’s claims,” she added. It’s important to show up and continue to try to shame people into doing the right thing. We’ve seen that that can sometimes work. You can never stop trying cause that’s what they want you to do — to give up.”
Collins, the Maine Republican moderate whose Friday afternoon speech in support of Kavanaugh’s confirmation paved the way for an anticipated majority vote in the Senate on Saturday, was a particular target of scorn among the crowd. Bilcik also blasted her through a bullhorn, criticizing Collins’s claim that she believed the allegations of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford. “To say she believed Dr. Ford is a survivor but that Kavanaugh is not the perpetrator is an insult to survivors everywhere,” Bilcik said.
The protest was endorsed by groups including the Boston Socialist Alternative, Boston Democratic Socialists of America, Indivisible Somerville, and the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts.
It attracted many men, including Evan Foss, 34, of Newton, who was alone since his fiancée had to work late and who described himself as “fed up.”
Foss said he was outraged that the Senate barely slowed down the confirmation process for a brief investigation into the allegations, and he wondered why Republicans remained so wedded to their pick. “They probably would have chosen somebody with the same ideology but the idea that they would choose somebody that is this entitled is an offense to decency,” Foss said.
As the marchers passed by Haymarket, they drew applause from several young women who said they would have joined the event had they heard about it sooner. “I think it’s a watershed moment right now in our country,” said one of them, Melissa Mecchi, 25, of Brighton.