In Light of Kavanaugh Allegations, 15 Clubs Organize Sexual Assault Vigil

In+lieu+of+the+Kavanaugh+allegations%2C+NYU+students+attend+a+vigil+honoring+victims+of+sexual+assault.

Julia McNeill

In lieu of the Kavanaugh allegations, NYU students attend a vigil honoring victims of sexual assault.

By Mansee Khurana, Contributing Writer

The conversation ignited by Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault allegations has made its way to NYU.

A vigil, organized by 15 clubs on campus, brought numerous students to the steps of the Kimmel Center for University Life on Monday night to listen to survivors of sexual assault share their stories, standing in solidarity with the woman speaking out against Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford.

Before the vigil began, Omer Malik, a CAS senior and president of the Muslim Students Association, the student group that spearheaded the vigil, asked the audience to be present, give the speakers their full attention and “listen with your hearts.”

One by one, survivors took to the podium to share their stories of sexual assault.

CAS senior Sophia Hanson put her pain on paper, reading from poems she wrote about her ordeal. “I died in your bed,” Hanson said. “Then walked to the bathroom and bled. There will be no stains, no sinew, no tissue, just bone. But I will make a splint to carry me home.”

Julia McNeill
Students listen to speakers presenting.

CAS senior and Vice President of the Muslim Students Association Ikra Zulfiqar told WSN that the event was designed to create a supportive space for survivors of sexual assault.

“It was important for us to provide a space for survivors to share their stories and to make sure they know that they have a community that supports them and listens to them,” Zulfiqar said.

Many agreed that the backlash Ford experienced in response to her testimony shows the public is still dismissive of victims’ stories.

Gallatin first-year Althea Hurwitz expressed how the visceral nature of many of the speeches made the vigil an incredibly powerful experience.

“Hearing [the survivors] share their stories was very powerful because it makes you realize how immediate this issue truly is,” Hurwitz said. “All these women from different backgrounds have experienced the same horrible thing, and I really appreciate their bravery.”

Hurwitz believes that the political slant of the vigil was necessary.

“This is the way it is,” Hurwitz said. “We have to fight against it. If [lawmakers] are going to politicize our bodies, politicize the stories of these women, we have to act within that world as well.”

Malik also stressed the importance of the intersectional nature of the event. Malik said that after reaching out to 80 clubs on campus, the fact that there were 14 clubs who came out and supported the vigil was an incredible achievement.

“When we started planning this, a few people asked us why MSA was the one hosting it,” Malik said. “We realized we needed to get as many groups as we can to be a part of this, and that the speakers that we have came from a diverse background so that people could feel like they were represented.”

Tisch junior and President of the Students for Sexual Respect Emma Levine said she hopes holding open events like these casts a light on how prevalent sexual assault really is.

“Vigils and events akin to this one are crucial in showing the NYU administration and the student body that this continues to be a major issue on NYU’s campus,” Levine said. “Survivors should be believed, and that allies of survivors are committed to advocating for fair treatment of and support for survivors within the NYU community.”

 

Email Mansee Khurana at [email protected]