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Protests Erupt In San Diego, La Jolla And Los Angeles Over Kavanaugh Confirmation

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in before testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.
Associated Press
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in before testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.
Protests Erupt In San Diego, La Jolla And Los Angeles Over Kavanaugh Confirmation
Protests Erupt in San Diego, La Jolla, Los Angeles Over Kavanaugh Confirmation GUEST: Karla Peterson, columnist, The San Diego Union-Tribune

The confirmation of now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has left a lot of turmoil in its wake. The political fallout is yet to be seen but the personal ramifications are already being felt by survivors of sexual assault and by men who say they now feel like targets for false accusations of sexual misconduct. San Diego Union Tribune columnist Carla Petersen has been tracking how the Kavanaugh story has been playing out here in San Diego. Her most recent article is titled Why the male fear of false rape accusations should worry all of us. Carla Peterson joins us now. And Carla welcome to the program. It's always good to be here Maureen. We recently heard President Trump give voice to the fear you're talking about. Here's what he said last week. It's a very scary time for young men in America when you could be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of which is a very very very difficult time. What's happening here has much more to do that even the appointment of a Supreme Court justice. OK that was President Trump last week. And Carla in your column you talk about the idea of the victimized male. Can you tell us more about that. Well you know I think this idea that women are going to be coming out of the Bushes willy nilly accusing men of sexual harassment and of rape and of sexual assault. The facts do not bear that out. And I just don't see that happening for you know many logical and provable reasons. I don't think this is something that happens very often and I don't think it's something that men need to be afraid of. Aren't there actually many more unreported sexual assaults than false allegations. Yeah there are. I mean the math does not add up the number of false allegations depending on what study you look at. It's between two and 10 percent. The number of rapes not reported are. It's 63 percent. So you've got you know two to 10 percent on one end and you've got 63 percent. On the other end. So I think the numbers are really not in favor of the victimized male narrative. It does happen and I don't want to say that it doesn't happen because it does. And I don't want to minimize that because the toll is terrible when it does happen but is not it's not common. Now you say that the male fear of false accusations should worry us all. Why is that. Well I mean I think for one thing it it furthers a narrative that just is not true. And so it makes it makes the the victim whether it's a male victim or a female victim it minimizes their stories and it minimizes their stories in favor of a narrative that isn't really supported by any facts. And it also I think supports the idea that people come forward easily and that it's just an easy thing to do to come out and put forward an allegation that is not true because you have some sort of nefarious plan. It's very very hard for victims. And that means male victims female victims children. It's very very hard for them to come forward and that's why 63 percent of rapes and sexual assaults are not reported. So it sets this real dangerous narrative that it's an easy thing to do to make up a lie and come forward when in fact that's not what happens and it furthers a narrative that this is that this is a thing you know and this is not a thing. It's something that happens occasionally but false accusations of rape and sexual assault are not frequent it's not a frequent thing. And I think those are the two things that worry me. Now most of the current coverage of the Kavanagh's controversy focused on the political aspects but you've zeroed in with your columns on how it's affecting people socially. What have you found. Well I've found from talking to especially from talking to rape victims and talking with organizations that work with rape victims it's a real triggering thing for them and for them to see this playing out on such a big screen. It's very painful for them because you have all of these men and women in Washington coming forward and saying why didn't she come forward sooner. You know why didn't if it was as serious as you say why didn't she report it to the authorities. And there's so many reasons why these things are not reported. I mean you're afraid of your reputation. You're afraid of angering your parents. If you're a young person you're afraid of and you are afraid actually of of harming the other person's reputation. I spoke to a rape survivor on Friday and she said in her house where she when she grew up it was the man's story that mattered. It was the boy's story that mattered. You had to be careful of their reputations it wasn't yours that mattered it was theirs. And so I think on a level for especially for rape survivors and I think for women who have been assaulted or harassed in some way to see that you can be questioned like that. And that you can be doubted like that. It's a very very difficult for them. It's been a year since the sexual harassment allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein became public and the Mitsu movement was born so to speak. Now that we have had this controversy with Brett Kavanaugh where do you see the ME2 movement going. I don't see it slowing down. I mean I really think that this did fire up a lot of women and I think that because it's been a year there was this feeling of maybe the embers are dying down and maybe it will be you know something back in the history books that we'll forget about. And I think if nothing else this reminded us that we can't forget. And I think that it really stoked a lot of fire under a lot of people and men too. You know I think what was interesting about the Kavanaugh thing is a lot of men came forward writing articles saying you know I witnessed a rape back in the 60s when I was in high school I didn't say anything. And you have men saying you know I drink a lot when I was in college and I was a real bore and I feel bad about that. And so a lot of conversations are kind of being reinvigorated which I think is a good thing. I've been speaking with San Diego Union Tribune columnist Carla Peterson. Carla thanks. Thanks so much

More than 1,000 demonstrators took to the steps of the Hall of Justice in San Diego this weekend to protest the confirmation of embattled Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The protest began at 2 p.m. Sunday, and similar protests took place in La Jolla and in downtown Los Angeles.

In San Diego, demonstrator Claire Douglas told the Union-Tribune that the bitter nomination fight and his subsequent confirmation left many people feeling disenfranchised and concerned about future decisions by the Supreme Court with its conservative majority. Douglas said demonstrations such as these were a way to give people a voice to rally around the rights of women, people of color and immigrants.

"Regardless of who is sitting in the White House, regardless of who's on the Supreme Court, what actually moves things forward and what actually puts pressure on people at the top are the social movement from below that are actually applying that pressure," Douglas told the newspaper.

Some of the demonstrators eventually began marching on the streets blocking traffic on Broadway and North Harbor Drive as they marched. Many waved signs with slogans like, "Grab 'em by the midterms," and "Kavanope."

In La Jolla, protester Adrian Wilson told Fox 5 News, "We are not happy and we are going to do something about it."

"I'm physically sick by being let down by our country," Jessie Levey said. "I think for many who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual assault. It's hurtful," Heather Harrington said. "I have two daughters and feel (this) for myself, but I feel mostly for them."

In Los Angeles protesters gathered outside Los Angeles City Hall. Most of those present came from the #MeToo movement and various leftist groups, CBS2 reported.

When the station's reporter asked demonstrator Madeline Merritt if it might not be too late for protests, she said, "It's not about being too late when what we have all experienced as survivors is a process that felt very much like an assault."

Kavanaugh was confirmed in a 50-48 vote in the U.S. Senate.