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VIDEO: Brooklyn survivors of sexual assault speak out on Kavanaugh proceedings, ask to be believed

October 4, 2018 By Liliana Bernal Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Demonstrators held signs and wrote messages on their hands, holding their palms out open together. Eagle photos by Paul Frangipane
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Alison Turkos told a crowd of hundreds gathered in front of Brooklyn Supreme Court she had been raped three times during her life. The first two times she kept silent, fearing that no one would believe her. The third time was a year ago, when she was kidnapped and gang raped by three men; this time she decided to report it to the NYPD.

“I did the right thing and I reported, and the NYPD was terrible,” Turkos said in tears. “I was treated like a criminal, so I don’t know what the right thing to do is.”

Turkos shared her story Wednesday night to a group of protesters who were supporting survivors of sexual assault and demanding the U.S Senate stop Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

Several allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct have been placed against Kavanaugh throughout his confirmation process, including from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who testified in front of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee last week.

“We allowed people to share their stories because we’ve seen in the past week that sharing stories is what changes senators’ minds,” said Paola Mendoza, one of the event organizers. Mendoza added that the vigil was also a healing space for women after a tough two weeks.

The demonstration was part of a nationwide series of peaceful vigils set up through that drew thousands of people out from across the country.

Chanting, “I believe that we will win” and waving signs reading “believe survivors,” “woman must be heard” and “No Kavanaugh,” among others, activists called on people to take action by phoning senators, moving to march in Washington, D.C. on Thursday and to be active on social media to press the Senate to vote no on President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee’s appointment.

“We want every single state senator to vote no on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh and millions of Americans and all our lawmakers to believe survivors,” said Jess Morales Rocketto, a sexual assault survivor and activist that last Friday confronted Sen. Ted Cruz in an elevator, asking him to believe women.

Protesters also voiced their anger about Trump’s mocking of Ford at a rally, calling the president’s actions “heartbreaking.”

“She told her story when she didn’t even want to tell her story and even still last night Trump mocked on her at a rally on TV,” said Sarah Sophie Flicker, one of the vigil organizers. “It sounds like a rally from World War II and you can’t really imagine that it’s happening now — but it is.”

In the last two days, several demonstrations related to Kavanaugh have taken place in Brooklyn. In a walkout in each of the five boroughs on Thursday, Legal Aid attorneys protested the judge’s potential appointment and sent a message that they find his behavior unacceptable.

In a rally that same day, Brooklyn College students called for a termination of Mitchell Langbert, a professor who defended Kavanaugh’s behavior in his blog, writing, “In the future having committed sexual assault in high school ought to be a prerequisite for all appointments, judicial and political.” Langbert later said the post was satire.

As crowd members embraced each other in tears Wednesday night, survivors of sexual assault quietly ended the vigil by coming forward one by one to place a flower each in front of the steps of the courthouse.


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