Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Protesters rally against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, outside of the Supreme Court, October 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. The Senate is set to hold a final vote Saturday evening to confirm the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Protesters rally against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, outside of the Supreme Court, October 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. The Senate is set to hold a final vote Saturday evening to confirm the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

'We Will Not Be Silenced': As Protests Continue, Debbie Ramirez Champions Collective Courage of Sexual Assault Survivors Standing Against Kavanaugh

"We are not going anywhere," said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, on Saturday. "Today, we bear witness to this vote and tomorrow we organize to elect candidates who believe women and share our vision of a country that is just and compassionate and reflective to the change required for our nation."

Jon Queally

With a public statement issued on Saturday just ahead of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate, Debbie Ramirez—the Yale classmate of the nominee who says he sexually assaulted her while in college—said that even though coming forward has been a painful experience she thanked those who have stood by her side and said the courage of all those survivors is proof that something historic has taken place.

"As I watched many of the Senators speak and vote on the floor of the Senate, I feel like I'm right back at Yale where half the room is laughing and looking the other way. Only this time, instead of drunk college kids, it is U.S. senators who are deliberately ignoring his behavior." —Debbie Ramirez"Thirty five years ago, the other students in the room chose to laugh and look the other way as sexual violence was perpetrated on me by Brett Kavanaugh," Ramirez declares in her statement (pdf). "As I watched many of the Senators speak and vote on the floor of the Senate, I feel like I'm right back at Yale where half the room is laughing and looking the other way. Only this time, instead of drunk college kids, it is U.S. senators who are deliberately ignoring his behavior. This is how victims are isolated and silenced."

But while she feels ignored by those powerful lawmakers and others, she thanked those who have stood by her—including classmates who put themselves forward to corroborate her story to the FBI but were ignored—and said, "there are millions more who are standing together" to speak out about the their experiences of sexual assault and supporting one another.

As the statement emerged huge crowds of women, sexual assault survivors, and others amassed outside both the Capitol Building and the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC.

"This is a truly collective moment of survivors and allies standing together," Ramirez writes. "Thank you for hearing me, seeing me and believing me. I am grateful for each and every one of you. We will not be silenced."

Read the full statement:

Along with the courageous testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ramirez's decision to come forward with her story is being credited for stirring a wave of sexual assault survivors to come forward, share their stories, and demand change. And even as Kavanaugh's confirmation was almost assured on Saturday, women's right groups and progressives nationwide are vowing that the anguish and anger that has been unleashed by the callous disregard exhibited by the Republican Party (and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia) will not be put back in the bottle.

"We are not going anywhere," said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, on Saturday. "Today, we bear witness to this vote and tomorrow we organize to elect candidates who believe women and share our vision of a country that is just and compassionate and reflective to the change required for our nation."

And as Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet Action, a leading national women's group, declared on Friday: "This doesn’t end tomorrow. It ends in November."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

AOC Blasts Democratic Leaders for Boosting 'Pro-NRA Incumbent' Henry Cuellar

"This was an utter failure of leadership," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said hours after a gunman killed 19 children at a Texas elementary school.

Jake Johnson ·


'This Fight Isn't Over,' Says Cisneros as Cuellar Declares Victory in Razor-Close Primary

"This election is still too close to call, and we are still waiting for every ballot and eligible vote to be counted," said progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros.

Jake Johnson ·


After Kids Killed in Texas, Dems Declare 'Pass Gun Safety Legislation Now'

"Congress has a moral responsibility to end gun violence now," said Sen. Ed Markey. "To those who refuse to act, there are no excuses. Only complicity and shame."

Jessica Corbett ·


At Least 19 Children, 2 Adults Killed in Texas Elementary School Shooting

"This has become part of who we are as a country," said Julián Castro. "The free availability of guns has not made us safer in the United States or here in the state of Texas."

Brett Wilkins ·


House Dems to Pelosi: Hold Vote for Bill Expanding Social Security

"It is Congress' responsibility to ensure that Social Security's benefits are protected and improved," says a letter to the speaker. "It's time we deliver."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo