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Meet the Handmaids protesting in Alabama against Roy Moore

Dozens of women turned up dressed in the TV adaptation’s iconic costumes and demanded that the senator and alleged sexual predator – defended by Trump – is removed from politics

“We want a senator not a predator,” a sign held up by one demonstrator said – these protesters, dressed as handmaids from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel and this year’s biggest TV show, were there to challenge the Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.

“What I am is a girl born and raised in South Alabama and I've had enough!” Michele Harmon, the organiser and participant in the Alabama handmaid’s ‘resistance protest’ tells Dazed. Dozens of women turned up at the rally in Fairhope, Alabama, wearing white bonnets and red robes worn by the systematically oppressed women of Atwood’s dystopian near-future. In her book, the U.S has been taken over and modern society as we know it abolished, everything in run by religious fanatics Gilead. 

Multiple women have come forward with allegations against Moore, accusing him of harassment, groping and relentless pursuit of them in their teenage years. He has refuted any accusations and described them as “false” and “malicious”. Trump gave Moore his personal endorsement for the special election, in the wake of the serious allegations. 

The protest took place December 5 – out of the 50 handmaid protesters, some also wore black tape across their moves with the full names of his accusers. Trump’s ex-strategist Steve Bannon was present.

“Since the dawn of time people in power have used their positions to control and manipulate their victims sexually. They achieve this by threatening them with repercussions or the thought of not being believed,” a statement from protest spokesperson Mette McCall said.

“If Roy Moore wins the upcoming Senate election in Alabama, sexual predators will feel supported, powerful and emboldened to exploit and attack more women and children,” says Harmon. “This isn't about politics. It's about standing up for what's right and decent in this country. 

Across this last year, women around the world have used the handmaid’s uniform as a symbol of resistance against the state, highlighting the mistreatment of women – women in Ireland and the Isle of Man dressed up to demonstrate against archaic abortion laws, and elsewhere in the U.S women marched in Washington against the GOP healthcare bill.

“These are just local Alabamians sick of our state being depicted as a complete and morally bankrupt backwards Hickville”

Speaking of the women who have come forward about Moore, Harmon highlights that they could face abuse for a third time, should he win the election. “Once by Moore, a second time by an ugly campaign that personally and viciously attacked them. If Moore wins, the accusers would be victimised a third time, by voters of Alabama who elected the man who committed this abuse, then denied it, then called the victims liars and frauds because they revealed the abuse.”

Opposers vocally claimed that the handmaids had been paid to be there, which Harmon denied vehemently. “These are just local Alabamians sick of our state being depicted as a complete and morally bankrupt backwards Hickville.”

Though a peaceful protest, a man not yet publicly identified – only described by Harmon as a “prominent attorney” – attempted to drive his truck into protesters. The man also screamed in the faces of demonstrators. The group was denied entry to the public event and was escorted from the property by the local sheriff’s department. Authorities claimed they were a “distraction”. 

“These men and women came out to stand up for women and to be in the right side of history!” Harmon says.