When Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Brock Turner, the Stanford student who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman, to just six months of jail time in June, he royally pissed off a secret international girl cult.
You may have never heard of GRLCVLT, but the Turner case has propelled its members to step out of the shadows to take action.
WHAT IS GRLCVLT?
This secret all-women feminist network was founded in Los Angeles in 2012 by Annaliese Nielsen, CEO of social network startup Crushee. It provides members with a forum and trusted community to discuss life as a woman, from feminist theory to finding the right shoes for an outfit.
The group has expanded in the years since its inception and now has GRLCVLT branches nationwide, from D.C. to Miami to Chicago. In 2014, Remy Holwick, a model and photographer, founded the group’s largest arm, which is based in New York and boasts some 2,700 members.
But don’t expect GRLCVLT events to pop up on your Facebook News Feed anytime soon.
“We keep off social media purposefully. It’s internally nominating. People can’t come knocking on our door asking to join,” Holwick says. “Our core mission is to provide a safe space for women, from my ‘Do you like my shoes?’ to ‘I think my dog is sick’ to talking about feminism and racism.”
There’s even a vetting process for prospective members, Holwick says. Members of the group can make nominations, after which two other women in GRLCVLT have to vouch for the candidate. A panel then vets the candidate, to make “sure they are who they say they are,” she says.
GRLCVLT VS. PERSKY
Despite its efforts to maintain a low profile, GRLCVLT couldn’t keep quiet about the Turner case, Holwick says.
Turner’s sentence — just six months in county jail — created uproar nationwide, prompting some, including the members GRLCVLT, to fight to recall the California judge who issued it, Aaron Persky.
“I felt so helpless that women were being indicted by a system for something they have no control over, which is rape. I don’t want to feel like I don’t have any power over that,” Holwick says.
So, she turned to GRLCVLT. On their private Facebook page, Holwick invited GRLCVLT members to her apartment to write letters to an address she found online, promising dinner and stamps to those who came.
Holwick says she expected 10 people to show up. Instead, nearly 1,000 women gathered to write letters to California’s Commission of Judicial Performance, demanding Persky be unseated.
GOING NATIONAL WITH THE CAUSE
Michele Dauber, a Stanford law professor and chair of the official campaign to recall Judge Persky, heard about the letter-writing event through one of her former students and reached to GRLCVLT via Skype.
“They [GRLCVLT] said ‘How can we help?’ and I said, ‘We need money,’” Dauber said.
Dauber, who raises funds for the Democratic party, has seen how money affects elections and says she believes it will be just as crucial in successfully campaigning against Persky.
“When you donate you definitely get the attention of the political system,” Dauber tells USA TODAY College. “There is a power in voting and participation, and part of participation is money.”
And a lot of money is needed — the recall Persky campaign’s official website states that it will take approximately $1 million to recall Persky.
This led Holwick and Dauber to join forces to host a national GRLCVLT fundraising event on August 1, in Brooklyn, New York, at a bar called Baby’s All Right. Musical guests like Madame Gandhi and The Skins performed, and Michele Dauber spoke.
Other GRLCVLT events were held at the same time in other parts of the world, from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia.
While this is the first public event and cause that GRLCVLT has ever attached its name to, Holwick says it won’t be the last.
“[GRLCLVT] became much more active after this case. This is the way things change. People come together, because we are stronger together,” Holwick says.
WOMEN AND THE POLITICAL SYSTEM
While recalling a biased elected judge is important in its own right, Dauber believes the situation serves as a wake-up call to women for why they should get involved in the general electoral process.
“There are many good things about political organizing happening around the Brock Turner case. It’s calling women of all ages to political activity,” Dauber said.
Namely, Dauber wants woman to know how impactful their donations to campaigns at the local, state and federal level can be. Donating just $10 to a campaign, she says, will cause you to pay attention to the candidate you donated to and hold them accountable.
“You will start checking in on that person’s website, and care about the outcome of the race,” Dauber says. “It’s actually a really empowering feeling.”
Original article posted by USA Today College
By Dixe Schillaci
Click here to read the original article.