Photos by Maria Nevada/the Gateway
At noon on Sunday, Sept. 20, in the cold and rain, demonstrators gathered on the intersection of 59th and Dodge streets for the “Believe Survivors” rally.
The demonstration was organized by community members Amelia Rosser, Liam Smith and Melanie Lucks. Rosser stated that the demonstration was created in response to a perceived lack of public demonstrations of anger in the wake of allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh committed sexual assault.
“We feel that it is important to be in solidarity with victims of sexual assault and to show our collective voice that we do not support Brett Kavanaugh,” Rosser said.
Rosser has a history of working in nonprofit management and working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Awareness about the rally was created quickly via a Facebook event, which is how attendees Jamie Zarlingo and Allison Mergens heard about the demonstration.
“I’m here today because I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t had an experience like this,” Zarlingo said in reference to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh.
On Sen. Ben Sasse’s remarks during the Kanaugh hearing, Zarlingo said, “I think that he is all talk. I think that he is not a good representation of our state and I think that we need to find someone who is actually not always just going to go with party but with principle.” Zarlingo identifies as a Democrat.
Her companion, Mergens, however identifies as a political independent. “I am here to support the millions of women and men who have been forced to relive the trauma of their sexual assault throughout this entire proceedings with Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination,” Mergens said.
A neighborhood resident walking past the event voiced her approval, “I think it’s fantastic. I think it’s what needs to happen here. We need to stand up for what’s right in this country. We need to believe people and we need to not let this man become the next Supreme Court Justice.”
Several attendees present shared their own stories of surviving sexual assault. Lindsey Krehbiel, a delegate from the Omaha Student Union voiced the Union’s support of the movement.
“Two of the most important women in my life have been assaulted,” Krehbiel said. “We have to believe all survivors.”