On Monday, Sept. 24, 2018 people around the county participated in walkouts to show their support of two women who accused U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual assault.
NARAL Pro-Choice America formed an alliance with several organizations and survivors in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez - the women who came forward accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
Most of the walkouts occurred at large cities with the likes of Boston, New York and Washington D.C.
NARAL is an organization that engages in advocacy and political action that expands access to abortion while it opposes restrictions on abortion. The nonprofit encouraged protesters to wear all black and to start walking out of their classrooms, offices, homes at 1 p.m. The groups were then asked to post a picture of participants on social media with the hashtag, #BelieveSurvivors.
Hundreds of men and women from all over America shared their posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Despite the large turnout in other cities, there weren’t many protests happening in Southwest Florida. Two of the most prominent women’s rights groups in SWFL, Abuse and Counseling Treatment of SWFL and The SWFL Women’s Foundation, did not participate in the #BelieveSurvivor walkout.
However, we managed to catch up with Marni Sawicki, the former mayor of Cape Coral , who says she knows how it feels to go through the trauma of being sexually assaulted.
“I was raped at 15 by a boy that was 17 [and that moment] still lives with me 36 years later,” Marni said.
And as she pursued a career in politics, Marni frequently experienced inappropriate behavior. “I’ve had lobbyists telling me I couldn’t see a certain Senator if I didn’t have a low cut shirt on.”
Marni believes walkouts are designed to bring awareness and to start a conversation, but she said it will take more effort to make a serious change. To start, she suggests that men and women who feel strongly about these issues should run for office.
“You’ll see change, but it’s going to take time," she said. "I don’t know if I’ll see it in my lifetime."