Provo Women’s Wave Rally highlights sexual assault survivors’ stories

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The Women’s Wave Rally in Provo was held as part of an ongoing movement around sexual assault survivors and women’s issues and drew a large crowd on the steps of the Utah County Historical Courthouse Jan. 19

Organized by students, as a sister event to the National Women’s March, the rally focused its message on legislation, assault survivors’ stories and community resources for these and other issues.

“Our specific focus with this event this year is to support survivors of sexual assault and to learn how to be better allies,” said Franchesca Lopez, one of the organizers of the rally.

Supporters of the Women’s Wave Rally gathered around the steps of the Historic Utah County Courthouse Saturday, January 19, 2019. (Photo by Johnny Morris)

According to Lopez, speakers had been chosen for experience either as a survivor themself or supporting survivors.

The first of the speakers, Utah state representative Angela Romero, focused her message on civic participation and political activism.

“I want to make sure that everybody’s voice is represented,” Romero said. “We need your voice everywhere.”

Romero shared ideas on how to support and discuss legislation on these and other women’s issues.

Prominently featured were survivors of sexual assaults. Cassidy Combs, a survivor, spoke on her personal experience with assault, detailing the pain and struggle of her continuing recovery.

“I just wish that I could wake up and feel like myself again,” Combs said.

She was followed by her husband, Tanner Combs, who teared up as he spoke on ways he tries to support his wife and other survivors.

Angela Romero, member of the Utah House of Representatives, giving her speech at the Women’s Wave Rally held at the Historic Utah County Courthouse in Provo on Saturday, January 19, 2019. (Photo by Johnny Morris)

Provo city councilman Dave Harding also attended the event.

“[Sexual assault] is something that needs more awareness and we need to do more to prevent sexual assault and support the victims,” said Harding. “We need everyone’s voices to be heard [and] we need better representation of everyone in our community.”

In addition to the invited speakers, the rally also featured slam poems by local students, as well as representatives from various support and interest groups in Utah County. The events can be followed on Facebook and Instagram at @womensmarchprovo for more information on future rallies, as well as resources for survivors and allies.

Photo by Johnny Morris