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Florida State students protest rape culture

By Jess Schwartz

Florida State University (FSU) students speak out against rape culture, April 1

Tallahassee, FL – Over 30 Florida State University (FSU) students and Tallahassee community members gathered on campus to speak out and march against rape culture on April 12. The F-Word (a feminist campus organization), Students for a Democratic Society and Dream Defenders organized the rally.

Protesters marched from Oglesby Union to Landis Green, a popular hangout spot for students.

Representatives from the Center for Participant Education, The Outlet (a mental health non-profit) and Advocates for Immigrant and Refugee Rights spoke at the rally. The speakers educated the crowd by defining rape culture and acquaintance rape, describing how to be an ally to survivors, the effect of rape culture on African-American, Latina and other oppressed nationality women, and how immigrants are oppressed by rape culture. A spoken word artist captured everyone’s attention with a passionate piece about sexual assault.

The rally was part of Rape Culture Awareness Week, sponsored by the FSU groups, including the Women’s Student Union. The purpose of the rally was to raise people’s consciousness about rape culture, which is a society that permits rape to occur through gendered socialization, victim blaming and slut shaming. The F-Word tabled with resources from the Refuge House, a domestic violence shelter; the Victim Advocate Program, a campus center for survivors of sexual assault and a resource list of local and national organizations.

“My parents taught my sister how to protect herself from rape, but never sat me down and taught me not to rape,” said Andrew Arachikavitz, lead coordinator for Students for a Democratic Society.

Maressa Simmons, a member of The F-Word, stated, “I went because rape is a crime that can affect anyone at any time; and hoped to raise awareness about what rape is and its effects on everyone.”

Students for a Democratic Society and The F-Word hope to partner up in the fall for a campaign against rape culture.

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