South Bend ‘We Believe Them’ Rally Protests Kavanaugh Confirmation & Supports Sexual Assault Victims
In the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s Saturday confirmation to the United States Supreme Court, activists in South Bend, Indiana, rallied together to make a statement, saying “We Believe Them.” WSBT 22 News says the event was organized by the grassroots group Indivisible, and was sparked in response to the split Indiana vote in the confirmation process.
The event took place at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon, at Hunt Plaza, South Bend. Apparently, Indiana’s two Senate delegates each had different views on the nominee. Democrat Joe Donnelly voted against Kavanaugh, while Republican Todd Young voted “yes” on the new Justice. The “We Believe Them” rally was meant to stand up for sexual assault victims, while thanking Donnelly for his vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, says WSBT 22.
One activist at the event, April Lidinsky, spoke of the passion of protesters and sexual assault victims at the rally.
“I know that the news has been really catastrophic for victims of sexual violence. People are pouring out their stories. Really the vote shows us that the voices of survivors just don’t matter,” Lidinsky told WSBT 22.
Apparently, protesters were also encouraging survivors of sexual assault to share their stories, while urging them to vote in November for politicians who would support the cause for believing victims.
The South Bend Tribune offered more details on the events at Saturday’s rally, describing empowering speeches that took place for victims and survivors of sexual assault and abuse. Apparently, Rev. Chip Roush of the First Unitarian Church of South Bend offered advice to men on the respectful and acceptable treatment of women.
“If you see someone bothering a woman out in public, speak up. Not because women cannot defend themselves, but because it sets a better example and demonstrates solidarity rather than division,” Roush said, per the Tribune.
Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County advocate Megan Elbin spoke to the crowd about the importance of sexual assault victims having the ability to safely speak about their experiences with professionals who can help them. She offered the organization’s emergency helpline for any victims to call if they are seeking a way to speak out about their experiences.
“Having that confidential and anonymous way of talking to someone about your experience can be very therapeutic initially, especially if you’ve never been able to talk about it,” said Elbin.
“We Believe Them” was couched in response to the current social media and sexual assault protest trend #BelieveSurvivors, which was created in support of Christine Blasey Ford and the two other women who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct during his nomination for Supreme Court Justice.