More than 200 people, including first lady Chirlane McCray, gathered in front of City Hall on Monday in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, ahead of her scheduled testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.
Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high school party 36 years ago. She is scheduled to testify on Thursday morning, according to published reports.
“Today, New York City is sending a message to Dr. Ford and every survivor,” McCray told the crowd. “We are saying we hear you, we believe you, we stand with you.”
Supporters stood on the steps of City Hall, holding signs including “NYC stands with survivors” and chanted “We hear you, we see you, we believe you.”
The rally comes a day after another woman, Deborah Ramirez, accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself and thrusting his penis in her face while they were both students at Yale in an interview with The New Yorker.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
McCray said representatives from more than 40 organizations attended the rally. Numerous elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, joined as well,
“Today, we are angry,” Velazquez said. “Tomorrow, we vote.”
Some activists shared their own experiences with sexual assault, sometimes holding back tears.
“When survivors do come forward they risk being revictimized by the criminal justice system,” said Martha Kamber, the CEO of YWCA Brooklyn, which provides safe housing for victims of sexual assault. “I know because I did not report my own rape. It took me about four decades. Sexual assault isn’t about sex, it’s about power.”
Danielle Campoamor, a columnist at Bustle, said she went to police when she was raped, and was asked what she was wearing, her sexual history and how much she’d had had to drink.
Campoamor said she only recently decided to reveal an earlier sexual assault by someone she thought was a friend.
“I’m tired of opening my mouth only to choke on my own shame,” she said. “It should not be mine to bear.”