A crowd of about 50 Lincoln community members gathered outside Sen. Ben Sasse’s office and held their hands — with the words “I believe” written across their palms — in the air for Lincoln’s representation in the nationwide “We #BelieveChristine” movement organized by Women’s March Global.
The organization held events across the country encouraging people to go to their senator’s office and ask them to vote “no” on Friday, Sept. 28, when senators will vote whether or not to appoint Brett Kavanaugh to the court.
Outside of Sasse’s office, the crowd cried as some shared their stories of sexual harassment and hugged each other before Sasse’s representatives faxed their letters to Washington, D.C. Together they pleaded for Sasse to hear their input and vote “no” to Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
The Senate Judiciary Committee met on Thursday, Sept. 27, to hear testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
“We believe all survivors, and we have their backs,” Women’s March Nebraska activist Nicholette Seigfreid said at Sasse’s office. “Shaming, blaming, bullying and vilification of Dr. Blasey Ford and all survivors must stop, and it must stop right now.”
She said concerns started early with Kavanaugh and only grew.
“Once the allegations started to come out, then Women’s March came with a little bit of a bigger force,” Seigfried said. “ … Just really making sure someone accused of sexual assault does not come into a position of power, especially a lifetime appointment.”
Many of the people at Sasse’s office wore black and delivered their own letters. The event lasted about 30 minutes, with personal stories and calls to action to support survivors of sexual abuse.
Ginny Wright shared her experience with sexual assault. She was sexually assaulted before she attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the ’70s, and she also said she was harassed while earning her master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from UNL. Wright said she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the assault and the recent allegations against Kavanaugh have affected her mental health.
“This Kavanaugh thing and Trump presidency truly messed with my mind,” Wright said. “My brain hurts. It is not right. That man should not be on the Supreme Court.”
Freshman psychology major Joshua Warren came to the event after learning about it in a class. He said he hopes the gathering at Sasse’s office made a difference.
“I come from a different kind of perspective being a straight white male,” Warren said. “I’m trying to be as strong an ally as I can just because I feel the same way as all of these people even if I don’t have my own experiences.”
Seigfreid said the event was successful and the employees at Sasse’s office were helpful.
“We need a Supreme Court justice who will uphold the rights, freedoms and opportunities for everyone no matter race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or where we come from,” she said. “Everyone needs to have their rights upheld by the Supreme Court, and I don’t think Brett Kavanaugh will do that.”