Stand Up for Social Justice held a vigil Tuesday night to support victims of sexual assault.
The event came hours after newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh participated in his first oral argument on the nation’s highest court.
Linda Unterman directed the vigil. She said the confirmation of Kavanaugh brought further attention to the #MeToo movement.
“There’s a lot of angry people out there,” Unterman said. “I think over the last couple of weeks it brought up a lot of memories of course that people didn’t want to think about, perhaps, anymore and gave them the idea, perhaps, that the government, at least, didn’t take their claims seriously.”
Unterman said the vigil was a way to show survivors in Bloomington-Normal that they still had a support system.
Gabe Cripe, the director of community outreach for the YWCA’s sexual assault survivor program Stepping Stones, also spoke at the event.
“As this national conversation is occurring, it can be difficult for survivors who maybe log into Facebook or turn on the TVs or just aren’t prepared for some of the conversations that they’re overhearing or that are brought up by friends and family,” Cripe said. “And that can be very triggering to folks to have to be reminded of a painful experience.”
To close the vigil, survivors from Bloomington-Normal shared their stories of rape, assault, and incest, some speaking out publicly for the first time.
Similar rallies speaking out against Kavanaugh’s confirmation are being held around the U.S., including a March to the Polls Saturday in Chicago.
After an FBI investigation and testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh last week to the Supreme Court on a 50-to-48 vote.
Stand Up For Social Justice is a coalition formed by Not in Our Town, the YWCA, Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal, New Covenant Community, and the ACLU of Central Illinois.
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