(Photo: Karissa Gall)

Hundreds lined up for GRLCVLT’s Fuck Rape Culture event Wednesday night. (Photo: Karissa Gall)

Yesterday, on the same day that the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office revealed that Judge Aaron Persky was removed from a new sex assault case at the request of prosecutors, over 700 letters petitioning for him to be permanently unseated were signed at a “Fuck Rape Culture” party in Bushwick. GRLCVLT’s event at Holyrad Studio drew women and men dissatisfied with the lenient, 89-day county jail sentence Persky handed down for the sexual abuse committed by Stanford student Brock Turner. The response was overwhelming not only because hundreds signed their letters while lined up outside of the packed, 150-capacity studio, but also because of the sheer emotion as women shared their personal stories of sexual assault, and called for an end to the abuse and injustice.

(Photo: Karissa Gall)

The letter signing station inside the studio. (Photo: Karissa Gall)

Some women wrote their stories on the walls near the front entrance to the studio or behind the indoor letter signing station; others wrote messages of solidarity, like “I hear you. I believe you. I am with you.” Jessicka Addams, previously of riot grrrl band Jack Off Jill and currently front for the band Scarling, Skyped in from Los Angeles to share her story of rape.

(Photo: Karissa Gall)

(Photo: Karissa Gall)

“There were lots of tears as people were signing their letters and even more tears as women told their stories,” event co-organizer Jenn Hoffman recounted today. “But there was also lots of strength. It was empowering. People from all walks of life came together to show solidarity for rape victims and refusal to accept victim blaming.”

New York GRLCVLT chapter founder Remy Holwick (left) poses outside the event. (Photo: Karissa Gall)

New York GRLCVLT chapter founder Remy Holwick (left) poses outside the event. (Photo: Karissa Gall)

With that spirit of solidarity permeating the studio, Hoffman and her co-organizer Remy Holwick, the founder of the New York chapter of GRLCVLT, managed to keep the event true to its Facebook description: “IT’S A PARTY.” After Addams’ call, the crowd was energized by live performances by comedian Lane Moore’s band It Was Romance and local act Edith Pop. Industry City Distillery kept the free drinks flowing.

(Photo: Karissa Gall)

Comedian Lane Moore’s band It Was Romance performs for a packed house. (Photo: Karissa Gall)

As a surprise addition to the programming, Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, who is heading the official effort to unseat Judge Persky, also spoke via Skype, and rallied attendees to donate to her Recall Judge Aaron Persky campaign.

Stanford law professor Michele Dauber rallies the crowd via Skype. (Photo: Karissa Gall)

Stanford law professor Michele Dauber rallies the crowd via Skype. (Photo: Karissa Gall)

“You can get a longer sentence for tampering with a fire hydrant than you can for a grim, horrible, grotesque sexual assault on a young woman in the dirt next to a dumpster,” she said before the crowd erupted with cheers. “The judge treated the survivor like she didn’t matter, and as if it was Brock Turner’s pain, Brock Turner’s fear, Brock Turner’s injuries, and Brock Turner’s reputation that mattered. I hope that you’ll stand with me and say enough is enough.”

(Photo: Karissa Gall)

The crowd cheers in response to Stanford law professor Michele Dauber’s rousing Skype speech. (Photo: Karissa Gall)

At 10 pm, the event ended with a candlelight vigil and moment of silence for rape victims.

If you weren’t able to attend but still want to be involved, Hoffman told us that you can send a letter online, and suggested organizing your own event to end rape culture or starting your own local girl gang. Not that GRLCVLT is going anywhere: “GRLCVLT will continue to be a thriving feminist community that supports women,” she said. “This is just the beginning.”