Home Social Justice F–kRapeCulture 3rd annual March hits Mill Street, Court Street

F–kRapeCulture 3rd annual March hits Mill Street, Court Street

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Students stripped down and marched up Mill Street this Friday, covered in lipstick-clad messages and picket signs addressing rape culture on Ohio University’s campus.

Onlookers could feel the electricity in the air as students gathered at the bottom of Jeff Hill for the third annual F–kRapeCulture (FRC) March. Before hitting the streets, however, co-founder Claire Chadwick addressed the crowd and alerted participants that this demonstration would be held without a “legal” parade permit. Throughout the march, however, the Ohio University Police Department blocked traffic continually on their behalf.

“Rape culture,” though disputed by some, is defined as “everyday phenomena that validate and perpetuate, rape … rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as ‘just the way things are,’” according to Force: Upsetting Rape Culture.  

FRC’s presence on Ohio University’s campus began when OU alumni Chadwick and Allie Erwin saw an email sent by OUPD detailing a reported case of sexual violence. The report, according to Chadwick was “really victim blaming, and we realized that the conversation surrounding sexual assault were really damaging.”

Thus, F–kRapeCulture was born.

FRC’s mission is to “eradicate rape culture at Ohio University by raising awareness and engaging the community and questioning social norms,” Chadwick said.  

Since its start in 2013, the group’s Facebook page has reached nearly 650 likes and has garnered the attention of nearly every news outlet on campus.

A reported 70 participants marched from the bottom of Jeff Hill onto Mill Street, then down Court Street and ended with a rally at the Civil War Monument on College Green. The demonstration caught the attention of many pedestrians, including about 20 men at the Phi Sigma Pi fraternity house.

On Court Street, as the march was in full-swing, onlookers came out of establishments to see what was being protested.

Shireen Cain, a Court Street resident, sat and watched as students marched past her.

“I think it’s crazy. It got my attention … I came out here just to see what it was about … I thought it was about gay pride,” she said.

When the march concluded, several speakers stood at the Civil War Monument and took to the megaphone to speak about pervasive issues that perpetuate rape culture on campus, such as intersectionality, race, sexuality and sexual misconduct on campus.

The speakers included Hannah Koerner, Casi Arnold, Sasha Gough, Sarah Fick, Paul Eselgroth, Oliver Stone and Alyssa Ensminger, who shared her personal stories of sexual violence on college campuses and her experience as a survivor.

“I’ve never felt more like my story was my own,” Ensminger said post-rally with cigarette in hand.  “This space serves as some[where] people can go to just support each other and to heal and to create this coalition of people who understand that some days you want to break everything and some days you just need a hug.”

Haley Trachtenberg, an FRC member, said this movement is important and deserves attention from students at OU and beyond.

“It’s the fact that we don’t understand that even the smallest things can be really detrimental,”  Trachtenberg said. “It’s the fact that we think it’s ok that college girls are going to get sexually assaulted and that it’s the norm.”

If there is one thing the crowd took away from this experience it was the lesson that “wherever you are, wherever you go: yes means yes and no means no.”

 

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