National women’s groups are expressing solidarity with Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. Here’s how to talk to your employer about participating.
Supporters of the two women accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of misconduct will stage a national walkout Monday in solidarity with sexual violence survivors.
The walkout, co-hosted by dozens of women’s organizations and promoted by national Time’s Up leadership, is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. A Facebook event asked participants to wear black; walk out of their homes, classrooms or offices; and share a photo on social media hashtagged #BelieveSurvivors. Organizers in Washington, D.C. plan to walk out of the Hart Senate Office Building and hold a “National Speakout” at the Supreme Court.
“Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez have bravely come forward and shared their stories about sexual misconduct and assault at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh,” the Facebook event description reads. “Even though Dr. Blasey Ford has repeatedly stated her desire to testify and bravely share her story, Senate Republicans are doing everything they can to shame, bully, and force her to testify under their unacceptable, inappropriate conditions.”
Organizers encouraged those unable to walk out to post a picture or video to the event page, which has backing from groups including Planned Parenthood Action, the #MeToo movement, the Women’s March and the National Women’s Law Center.
“Help spread the word: we believe Dr. Blasey Ford. We believe Deborah Ramirez. We believe survivors,” they wrote. “And we won’t stand for Senate Republicans’ despicable attempts to strong-arm a sexual assault survivor.”
Survivors must be heard. Wear black and join the national walkout on Monday, Sept. 24 at 1 pm ET/10 am PT in solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. https://t.co/XcLucrziMJ #BelieveSurvivors #TIMESUP pic.twitter.com/s3RQY40Mf5
— TIME'S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) September 23, 2018
Plans for the walkout materialized over the weekend before the New Yorker reported a second decades-old allegation of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh. Ramirez, a former Yale University classmate of the federal judge, alleges that he exposed himself to her during a drunken dorm party in the 1983-84 school year and has asked for an FBI investigation; Kavanaugh has denied that the event occurred and called the accusation “a smear, plain and simple.”
Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, came forward last weekend to allege that Kavanaugh had groped and attempted to rape her during a party when they were both teenagers, a claim the judge also denies. She reached a deal with senators over the weekend to testify in open session before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Career coach Kathy Caprino advised those who plan to participate in a workplace walkout Monday to give their bosses a heads up: “‘Hey, listen: I’m going out to participate in the walkout.’ That’s it. No more, no less,” Caprino told Moneyish. “Try to remain unemotional and not political — not to get into the whys, not to get into an argument, not to get into a debate.” You can simply say this is something that’s important to you, she said.
Your employer may also appreciate knowing how vocal you plan to be — i.e., whether you plan to display signs, march or speak publicly on the topic. “Don’t lie — and if you can be forthcoming with your plans, I think that makes sense,” Caprino said. “And if you work in an organization where you can’t be, I think that’s something you need to think about.”
If you believe your organization will disapprove of your participating in such a demonstration, Caprino said, “decide how important this is to you” and weigh the pros and cons. “You have to understand that there may be repercussions, and you have to be prepared for that,” she said. In general, she added, it’s helpful to know a lawyer you can call in case you need advice. “Yes, lawyers cost money,” Caprino said. “But it can be life-changing to have someone you can count on; who is in the know about the legal issues, about our rights as employees.”
After all, workers have previously faced termination for making political statements even off the clock. Juli Briskman, for example, was forced out of her government contract job last fall after a photographer captured a viral image of her flipping off President Trump’s motorcade while riding her bike. Briskman, who is now running for local office, won a severance claim but saw her wrongful-termination lawsuit tossed out.
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