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Last week was surely triggering and traumatic for victims of sexual violence as they watched Dr. Christine Blasey Ford get dragged through the mud simply for coming forward with her accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
It was an example of just how pervasive rape culture is in this country. It’s as if it is one of the foundations it was built on. A system of power and violence that perpetually keeps victims down and makes martyrs out of the accused.
During her performance at Global Citizens Festival in New York on Saturday, singer and actress Janelle Monae had a strong message of support for those who had to relive their trauma this week while watching it all go down in real time.
“This past week was a brutal, brutal week for a lot of us women,” Monae said. “Those who supported the survivors who have spoken out and those who have been harmed.”
“It was an especially hard week for survivors of sexual violence, so I want to start off today’s festival by telling any survivor here in this audience right now, any survivor that is watching from your home—that I hear you, I see you, and I believe you,” she said.
“If we want to show our support for women and for girls around the world, that means that it has to start here. That needs to include women and girls here in the United States of America. It means that when survivors of sexual violence come forward, we have got to listen and believe them.”
She implored the audience to let survivors know that “we’ve got their back.”
She then led the crowd in a rousing chant of “We hear you! We see you! We support you! We believe you!”
She then addressed the men in the audience and told them “We need your support today. We need to know that you are with us. We need you as continued allies. We need you to become new allies. Men, I want to know right now, are you with us?”
When the men’s shouts weren’t loud enough, she repeated her question saying “No, I need that to be a little more convincing.”
“Men I want you to turn right now to the woman who is next to you, and I want you to tell her—look her dead in the eye—and let her know that you have got her back,” she instructed.
She then had the men chant “We believe you.”
The audience obliged her, of course. Let’s just hope they meant it.
Good on Janelle, however, for continuing to bring awareness to a such an important topic.
This article originally appeared on The Grapevine.