SALT LAKE CITY — Between 30 and 40 protesters convened in downtown Salt Lake Wednesday evening to say "Kava-no."
For Virginia Lee, a Salt Lake attorney, the issue feels personal.
"I was raped by a man who became a judge," she said during the rally in front of the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in Salt Lake, held to show objection to Judge Brett Kavanaugh's potential confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lee gathered with others under an overcast sky to wave signs with slogans including "Hear us," "I believe Dr. Ford," and "Vote no for Kavanaugh." As they chanted "Kava-no," passing drivers often honked their car horns.
"Men will be predators when they can, disregarding women who complain about being sexually assaulted or raped and … saying that complaining is character assassination is intended to shut women up more and allow men more freedom to rape and assault at will," Lee said.
According to organizers, the rally was one of 135 similar demonstrations held Wednesday around the U.S. to protest Kavanaugh's confirmation.
Organizer Ashley Weitz, with her 4-year-old son in tow, said Wednesday was her 89th straight day of protesting over recent concerns raised during the President Donald Trump's time in office. She says she started amid anxiety over families separated at the border.
"Right now in the U.S. in the last few weeks, in the last few months, during this administration, really, it has become abundantly clear that it is difficult to exist as a woman, as a survivor, as an ethnic or cultural minority, religious minority, gender and sexual minority. Frankly, it has become difficult to exist as anything but a healthy, wealthy white man," Weitz said.
She said she believes those in power are showing that a woman's voice "can always be silenced."
"And we're here to say, 'Listen to us. Listen to all of Utah.' The statistics on domestic and sexual violence in Utah and in the U.S. are alarming," Weitz said.
Craig Provost, of Salt Lake, said he attended the rally because he believes women deserve to be heard.
"I have six sisters, a daughter, a daughter-in-law and three granddaughters. And I believe Dr. Ford and that our women should be listened to. And I also believe that (Kavanaugh) lies, that he didn't answer the questions in testimony before the Senate, and got angry at the people interviewing him," Provost said.
"And that's inappropriate for a job applicant, much less someone applying for the Supreme Court."
Jill Merritt, of Salt Lake City, also called Kavanaugh "unfit to serve."
"Brett Kavanaugh was a terrible choice to begin with. … We have this horrible display of anger and self-victimizing from him that makes him unfit to serve. And as President Trump said, you can't lie to Congress."
"It's really time for men to see the way women have had to live for so long and wake up," Merritt said.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation has announced another protest of Kavanaugh in the same location Thursday evening.
Correction: A previous version misspelled event organizer Ashley Weitz's first name as Ashleigh.