While the FBI continues its investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, more women are coming forward to share their personal stories in hopes of swaying the opinions of senators who will eventually vote on whether or not to confirm the conservative judge.
But one group of women isn’t waiting until the vote for a change of heart. Over the weekend, The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) organized their staff and volunteers to speak candidly with senators returning to Washington, D.C. at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. And as it turns out, some of those senators were left speechless.
“We were saying ‘look us in the eyes, actually have a conversation with us,'” the group’s President and Co-Executive Director Jennifer Epps-Addison told Bustle about confronting the men. She told the outlet that the group spent the weekend studying photos of both Democratic and Republican senators so they could recognize them on sight.
On Monday, Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) was approached by Epps-Addison, Patti Serrano, and Arizona State Representative Isela Blanc as he made his way through the terminal.
After complaining about being touched, he ducks into a men’s bathroom to avoid the women.
“How can you not talk to women who have been assaulted?” Epps-Adison asks. “How can you ignore our pleas?” Blanc continues, “You represent not just your state’s choice, but every American in this country, and every person that is vulnerable. This is a legacy, and a moment in history that will not be forgotten.”
“He [Perdue] really is demonstrating what women across the country are saying: It’s not only that you are not listening to us, but you are overtly hostile to us when we say that we want the full rights and dignity that everybody in this country deserves,” Epps-Anderson said in her interview with Bustle.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell also found himself on the receiving end of public criticism and questions. “Do you want the Republican party to be the party that is known for supporting rape and sexual assault?” a woman asks.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen women confront senators in the past week. Many believe that Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-Ariz.) decision to call for the delayed vote and a limited investigation came in part because of a confrontation in an elevator by two brave sexual assault survivors, Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher.
“I was sexually assaulted and nobody believed me,” one said to Flake. “I didn’t tell anyone, and you’re telling all women that they don’t matter, that they should just stay quiet because if they tell you what happened to them, you’re going to ignore them. That’s what happened to me, and that’s what you’re telling all women in America, that they don’t matter, that they just keep it to themselves.”
The vote on whether or not Kavanaugh gets a seat on the Supreme Court bench is scheduled to take place at the end of this week.