"As a survivor, I just can't condone that there are women who are being silenced," Autumn Leonard told Revelist.

#GOPHandsOffMe protest in NYC
photo: Revelist/Emily Shugerman

Leonard said she had been "sitting, like everyone else, and just watching this election." But that changed the moment Donald Trump denied sexually assaulting women during the second presidential debate. At that moment, she knew she had to take a stand for the survivors, like herself, who she thinks are being silenced. Her first step is helping to organize this protest.

"We can't let someone who's openly racist be our president," added Viviana Bernal.

#GOPHandsOffMe protest
photo: Revelist/Emily Shugerman

"He's giving permission to people who've always had [racist] sentiments — now they're putting it out in the open," Bernal told Revelist. "And it's not just rhetoric. They're not just saying these racist things but they're actually acting upon them … People are feeling emboldened to do this."

"I'm here because I’m fucking angry," said Nikki Fortunato-Bas.

#GOPHandsOffMe protest
photo: Revelist/Emily Shugerman

"I have a daughter, and I don't want her to go through what I've been through, and what many women here have been through," Fortunato-Bas told Revelist. She condemned the "rape culture" that pervades our society and politics, referencing the statistic that one in five women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

"Anyone who runs for office and represents us has to treat women with respect and dignity, and treat us like human beings," she said.

#GOPHandsOffMe protest
photo: Revelist/Emily Shugerman

The #GOPHandsOffMe protests will continue throughout the day in major cities like Washington D.C., Miami, and Seattle. Gopal told Revelist they hoped the protest would influence questions at the third and final presidential debate on Wednesday, October 19.