Students speak out on sexual assault in 'Boise Believes Survivors' demonstration

Posted at 7:34 PM, Oct 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-21 18:08:55-04

"I definitely started crying, for, most way through of the speeches; it was so moving to hear people talking about their stories," said Peck.

High school seniors organized a congregation on the steps of the Idaho Capitol Building in an effort to make one message crystal clear: to "believe survivors."

"With such like a vapid under-reporting of sexual assault throughout the country, and with how many individuals are sexually assaulted, it's so important that when people do decide to come forward, that you actually believe them," said Hine.

"It's very hard to come out and tell, at least, even like, police-- even your parents-- it's really hard to come out and say it," said Peck.

Organizer Avalyn Hine -- just 17 years old-- decided to plan this demonstration after watching the Kavanaugh hearings.

"After I watched the entire testimonies, and then after I watched him get confirmed, I feel like this is kind of something that we could take action against in a positive and nonpartisan manner just to display support," said Hine.

And the show of support was not only for women survivors.

"Men have to be heard too. I know they're put down as well for thinking it's less manly for them to come out and tell their story, but everyone has felt in some way some vulnerability with other people around them," said Peck.

Personal stories, poems, and calls to action defined the Saturday morning gathering, and Hines says she feels the speakers-- many of them students-- were able to, "foster a communal love throughout all the attendees."

"So it's not just like we relish in like, the past, and like, the hurt, but it's, 'How do we move forward?' and, 'How do we heal, and how do we cultivate that healing within the community?'" said Hine.