University of Florida students collect anti-rape pledge
Gainesville, FL – Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) held a banner-signing event, asking students to pledge to stand against rape and sexual violence both on and off campus. SDS also provided literature on consent and ways for students to help prevent sexual assault. By the end of the day, around 50 students had signed the pledge banner.
The event comes just weeks after the latest in a string of sexual assaults on and around the University of Florida (UF) campus. The event was in response to a UF Student Government event, asking students to sign a pledge to “Never Walk Alone.” An SDS organizer explained, “Such language puts blame on victims of sexual violence and does nothing to address the true cause of sexual assault.”
Every hour, during the 15-minute class change period, SDS members made short speeches to crowds of students while handing out flyers about consent. Using humor and sarcasm to win over students, SDSers leafleted the “10 Top Tips to End Rape.” Including tips such as, “6. Use the buddy system! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.”
Farah Khan, lead organizer with SDS said “I think this type of event is necessary as it’s quite obvious that UF and UFPD have no interest in targeting the actual problem we have here: rape culture and patriarchy.”
McKenzie Walker, an SDS member, noted, “Despite the negative responses from some men, those that signed gave us hope. There is a strata of men on campus who want to end, rather than fuel, rape culture and share their support with others.”