On Thursday, as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's gut-wrenching testimony gave way to Brett Kavanaugh's sniveling prevarications, two fed-up New York City students began taping homemade fliers onto columns in busy subway platforms.
The posters, born from a trending hashtag responding to President Donald Trump's recent victim-blaming, asked New Yorkers to share #WhyIDidntReport, either on paper or on Instagram. By Friday, hundreds of responses had flooded in, a physical and online manifestation of a city deeply horrified to learn or be reminded of how the country's most powerful leaders feel about women.
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#Repost @davidmkrasner #whyididntreport #whyididntreportit #believewomen #believesurvivors #trustwomen #believevictims #metoo #metoomovement #sexualabuse #sexualassault #voiceup #speakup #trump #donaldtrump #america #us #usa #newyork #newyorkcity #nyc #victim #timesup #bravewomen
— Yana Kuchirko (@yanakuchirko) September 27, 2018
The paper protest is the work of School of Visual Arts students Ha Jung Song and Bowook Yoon, who came up with the idea as part a class assignment. They say they've placed over 1,000 flyers across the city this week, making their way from Times Square to Williamsburg, and dozens of stations in between. From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, they plan to hold a demonstration in Union Square, where New Yorkers will have the chance to share their unreported experiences on an oversized poster board and in the company of others.
"People are so scared, and they really just want someone to listen to them, believe them, encourage them and support them," Song told Gothamist, between trips to Midtown subway stations. "They’re not only sharing their experience, but also sharing their feelings and rage."
In some ways, the project is reminiscent of the post-election Subway Therapy installation under Union Square, in which thousands of New Yorkers vented and mourned via post-it notes in the wake of Trump's narrow electoral college victory over Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes in an election that was ultimately tilted in Trump's favor by a multi-pronged Russian attack on American democracy.
The "#WhyIDidntReport" subway project has also spawned a "crazy" response online, according to Song. She said she had hundreds of people DMing the project's Instagram account during yesterday's hearings, many of them clearly emotional and crying.
Amid the on-and-offline disclosures, calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline skyrocketed nearly 150 percent on Thursday compared with a normal weekday, according to anti-sexual violence organization RAINN. Others have confronted senators in elevators with their own tales of abuse, or called into news stations to voice their solidarity with Ford.
"People are really scared," said Song, "but they want to not hide anymore."