As the Senate began voting Brett Kavanaugh ’87 LAW ’90 into the Supreme Court on Saturday, hundreds of colorful flowers and notes began to line the Women’s Table. Messages that read “Solidarity with Survivors” and “We Believe You” were gradually chalked into the gray stone as the day progressed.
Members of the Yale community decorated the Women’s Table with flowers and notes on Saturday as part of an event organized by Solidarity with Survivors, a group dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual assault on Yale’s campus. Over the course of the afternoon, the Women’s Table evolved into a monument dedicated to victims of sexual violence.
“It’s really important that we come together as a community to say: We hear survivors, we believe survivors, we love survivors, we want to support them and lift their voices — and that’s what today is really all about,” said Liam Arnade-Colwill ’19, one of the event’s organizers and a member of Solidarity with Survivors.
The event came as part of a series of recent rallies and protests against Kavanaugh’s nomination in the wake of sexual assault allegations against the newly confirmed supreme court judge. Protests have included a sit-in at the law school and Senate office building, as well as a separate rally on Oct. 3, also held at the Women’s Table by Solidarity with Survivors. Yale alumni protested Kavanaugh’s nomination on Oct. 2 outside of the Yale Club in New York City. Kavanaugh was officially confirmed by the Senate on Saturday afternoon.
Although the event came amid a larger nationwide discussion about sexual assault, ongoing events on campus also inspired the group’s actions, Arnade-Colwill said.
Solidarity with Survivors formed just two weeks ago, but the group has already made its presence felt on campus by putting up posters and holding rallies in support of survivors of sexual assault. In the future, the group plans to work with Yale’s administrators on advocacy efforts for survivors of sexual violence while also diversifying their group’s membership by including people from underrepresented backgrounds in their initiatives.
According to the University’s report from the Office of the Provost, Yale received record 154 complaints of sexual misconduct between Jan. 1, 2018 and June 30, 2018, a roughly 20 percent increase from the second half of 2017.
“What happened on campus in 1983 still happens on campus all the time today,” said Miranda Coombe ’21, another organizer of the event. “The student body does not do enough to stop these things from happening, and then to support people who are victims — or survivors — of sexual misconduct on campus.”
Students and their families who came by the Women’s Table took pictures of the display and discussed the movement with organizers.
Emma Pindur ’22 and Tiffany Ng ’22 described the created monument as “very peaceful” and “very important.”
“Rallies are wonderful, they get people fired up, but sometimes they can be incredibly overwhelming, especially as a survivor,” Coombe said. “So this is more of a peaceful coming together, it’s supposed to be supporting and uplifting.”
Yale’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Education Center, which offers resources and counseling to survivors of sexual assault, is located in the basement of Yale Health at 55 Lock St. Their confidential phone line is open 24/7 at 203-432-2000.
John Klinger | firstname.lastname@example.org