The following were part of the L.A. Times live-blog national coverage of the one year anniversary of the Women’s March:
Tess Carter’s devastatingly simple words about surviving sexual violence were carried by a tiny battery-powered amplifier that couldn’t quite overcome the sounds of thousands marching and chanting in a separate rally a block away.
“I was raped, multiple times, by a man in my socialist organization,” Carter said. Her story was among more than a dozen shared by survivors of sexual violence at the #MeToo rally in Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland. It was one of four protests in Portland on Saturday.
Swear words were ubiquitous, ,and probably will also be at the Indigenous Womxn’s March on Sunday. The anger in the air was palpable.
“Smash the patriarchy!” one woman screamed.
Another, Violet Trachtenberg, held a sign reading “Men are weak / The Age of Men is over.”
“When women’s bodies are under attack, what do we do?” yelled Olivia Pace, the emcee with Socialist Alternative, which organized the event.
“Stand up like that!” the crowd yelled in unison.
The most moving moments — heartbreaking and powerful – came when Carter and other women who said they had endured sexual abuse told their #MeToo stories.
Women young and old spoke about “rape culture,” slut shaming and the silencing and ignoring of victims of sex crimes. The testimonies riveted everyone present. Voices trembled and shook, as the speakers addressed several hundred people and media, including TV cameras. “I was a virgin,” one young woman said, after sharing the story of her date rape as a teenager. “He waited until I stopped shaking to take me home.”
“When I was 17, I was date raped by a guy I was barely dating,” another said.
“Today my body is my protest sign,” one woman said. She went on to detail how she survived sexual assaults by her father starting at age 13, and how a patriarchal system’s response — including reconciliation therapy and a male police officer interviewing her “in a small, confined room” — hardly made things better.
Her father, she continued, “attended last year’s Women’s March with his gender studies professor girlfriend.”
In Portland, hundreds of protesters splinter into a variety of causes
Hundreds of protesters and a smattering of counterprotesters gathered at Terry Schrunk Plaza in downtown Portland on the first anniversary of the Women’s March — with a backdrop of dozens of police in riot gear.
While last year’s Women’s March attracted as many as 100,000 in pouring rain, this year’s events splintered into at least four protests and rallies.
The Trump Impeachment March and #MeToo March & SpeakOUT rally were all unfolding on Saturday, while a separate Indigenous Women’s March was planned for Sunday.
Barb Beliveau, who was at last year’s Women’s March, bemoaned the splintering of the political left in Portland since last year’s mammoth rally. The holding of multiple smaller events rather than a single big one, Beliveau said, “is just too … bad.”
Sherry Potwara and her fiance John Mitchell came out, Potwara said, because President Trump is “failing at governing. Where are we headed as a country?”
Police showed up in smaller numbers than during the 2017 march, and the day’s events unfolded peacefully.