Kicking off what appears to shape up as a week of confrontation on the national political scene, about 20 black-clad Ashlanders lined the Plaza Monday morning waving signs that said, “We Support Dr. Ford” and “#IBelieveHer” — with “Them” emblazoned over the “her” to mean that all sexual assault survivors shouldn’t have to prove it.
Protesters turned out to support Christine Blasey Ford, who is expected to testify Thursday that President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, sexually assaulted her when she and Kavanaugh were in high school.
Many passing cars honked. Other signs read “Resist” and “Dr. Ford Must Be Heard.” The protest was organized nationally by Planned Parenthood, MoveOn, ProChoice Oregon and other groups. They encouraged wearing black.
Patty Farrell said, “I am no longer willing to sit by and watch our representatives in Washington treat women, especially women who have been victims of sexual assault, with contempt. I remember watching Anita Hill being questioned and was horrified at the contempt and disrespect towards her from the white male panel. I have worked with sexual assault victims in the law enforcement field for over 30 years. I know how hard it is to talk about the assault. Who in the hell do they think they are, treating another human being that way? I will not stand for it again! I am now old enough and wise enough to do something about it.”
Brenda Leishman said, “I want women to be listened to. We’ve been shut down and are afraid to speak up. The more people stand up and support women, the more the truth will come out. So many of us are afraid to speak the truth and so many of us carry the effects of sexual assault…I’m here to support Christine Ford so she knows that I too know I’m am supported.”
Jack Leishman, whose sign read “I Believe Her,” with arrows pointing in every direction, said, “I’m here to support women, not to be the male voice who has all the answers … I hope it helps derail the nomination as it turns into a Cosby thing, where many allegations can’t be ignored. The Senate and White House are doing everything they can to ram it through fast.”
Carol Browning said she didn’t demonstrate but wore black to the YMCA, adding, “Glad we did have women demonstrating in support of these two brave women; I believe them!”
John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.