Corvallis Says #KavaNOPE

 On the afternoon of September 28, Corvallis’ daily peace vigil gathered in front of the Benton County Courthouse, as they have since the day the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, continuing the longest-running antiwar protest on Earth.  That Friday, they were joined by more than fifty women and men, mostly dressed in black, protesting the War on Women, in the person of the rush to seat Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court without investigating claims of sexual misconduct in his past.

Jessica Nixon, President of the Mid-Willamette Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) said they began organizing the event that morning.

“Members of the group noticed they were having a hard time in response to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, so I reached out to Indivisible, Corvallis Allies and Our Revolution.  They were all part of getting things going.”

Even more than simply opposing one judicial nomination, Nixon said: “[t]he crowd is really here to show we support survivors.  A lot of people are reliving their trauma during the hearings.”

Protesters ranged from elderly couples to high school students, many of them wearing stickers which silently proclaimed sexual assaults which they had suffered.  Preschoolers sat on the sidewalk, chalking pictures, while older children chalked slogans.  Many carried handmade signs with messages like: “YOU THOUGHT WE WOULD BE SILENT.  NOW HEAR US ROAR.” “BEER IS GOOD, BUT WE BELIEVE THE WOMEN!” “1 IN 4 GIRLS WILL BE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED BEFORE THE AGE OF 18” “1 IN 6 BOYS WILL BE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED BEFORE THE AGE OF 18” and “I AM DR. FORD.”

Catherine Stearns wore a sticker which read: “The first time I was raped, I was 4 years old.”  She held a handmade sign reading, “DINOSAURS ARE NOT EXTINCT – SOME WENT TO CONGRESS”

Another person, who asked that her name not be used but gave me her sticker and invited me to share its contents: “1) My babysitter when I was 3.  2) My stepdad which I am just barely starting to remember.  3) My Dad’s barber when I was 17.  4) You when you didn’t believe.”

Sarah Kosch said: “I’m happy that Corvallis has come together for a protest against such an unsuitable Supreme Court Justice.”

Nova Elwood, former advocate for the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV), echoed Nixon, saying: “The national conversation, watching Dr. Ford’s testimony, is very triggering for survivors.  It’s very enraging when people don’t believe us.  There is a rage that politicians are not ready for.”

State Senator Sara Gelser was present, as was City Council candidate Charles Maughan.

One person stood out from the crowd in his orange shirt and MAGA hat.  Asked whether he believed Judge Kavanaugh should be seated on the Supreme Court, he said he did.  Asked why he was present, surreptitiously recording the people in attendance with his phone, he said, “I do this all the time, representing an oppressed minority.”  Asked what minority he represented, he said, “I’m tempted to lie.”  Encouraged to tell the truth, after a pause he said softly, “Umm…conservatives.”  Asked to represent his minority group by putting his name to his quotation, he turned away.

By John M Burt