Vigil held Monday night for sexual assault survivors

Vigil for healing poster
Posted at 11:18 AM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 18:08:36-04

BOISE, Idaho — A vigil open to all survivors of sexual assault and their supporters was held Monday on the Statehouse steps from 7 to 8 p.m. The open vigil was put on by The Idaho Female Veterans Network in partnership with the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and the Idaho 97 Project.

“We decided to do a vigil, a healing vigil to recognize the survivors to say we hear you and we understand what happened,” Executive Director of Idaho 97 Project Michael Satz said.

“There's a lot of heartbreak, a lot of pain and a lot of anger coming from a lot of them. I felt like, we really needed to do something to show them that we support them and they are not alone,” Founder of Idaho Female Veteran Network Erin Dominguez said.

The event was held to support all survivors of sexual assault while also calling for accountability of Idaho House Representative Priscilla Giddings, who publicly identified the 19-year-old intern who alleged a former Idaho lawmaker, Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger raped her.

"We feel that her conduct was both unbecoming of a member of the legislature, but also unbecoming of an Air Force officer, an officer of the United States military and so we're all coming together to call on both of those institutions to hold her accountable for her behavior," Satz said.

The Lewiston Representative, Von Ehlinger resigned his position, shortly before the Idaho House of Representatives was set to vote on a motion to censure him. The Boise Police Department is investigating the case and von Ehlinger has not been charged. No further action will be taken by the Legislature.

The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence, ACLU of Idaho, Idaho 97 Project and other organizations say they will continue to call on the Idaho legislature and military to take action in response to Rep. Gidding’s behavior during the ethics hearing.

The vigil was also live-streamed on the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence Facebook page.