Campus News

Students, protesters rally against sexual assault on campus

Students marched from Bascom Hill down State Street to protest the prevalence of sexual assault on the UW-Madison campus and rape culture in society.

Image By: Katie Scheidt

Students and activists marched in protest Wednesday against what they called a perpetuated rape culture at UW-Madison.

The march, which was hosted by the International Socialist Organization, began atop Bascom Hill and moved down to State Street towards the Capitol. The protest stopped at the intersection of West Johnson and State Street before turning up Henry Street and continuing down Langdon Street. The event concluded at Library Mall, where activists had the opportunity to share their own experiences and thoughts on the protest.

Kim Gasper-Rabuck, a former student at Madison, addressed the protesters at Library Mall.

“You will never forget where you were on November 9, 2016,” said Gasper-Rabuck. “Because you know what, this is the beginning of a fight that will last the rest of your life.”

In recent weeks, numerous sexual assault allegations against suspended student Alec Cook have raised even more awareness to what is a prevalent issue on campus. According to the most recent results from a climate survey conducted by the Association of American Universities, more than one in four women at UW-Madison reported being sexually assaulted, with many of the perpetrators being males known by the victims.

Teddy Shibabaw, a representative from Socialist Alternative, which co-sponsored the event, said he believes that rape culture on campus is just a reflection of a larger problem.

“I think it mirrors the whole society,” Shibabaw said . “Even a place such as a university, supposed to be promoting learning, tolerance, unity and openness, creates these types of problems, so at every area we’re going to have to fight it.”

Protesters also voiced their frustration after Tuesday’s presidential election, when Republican candidate Donald Trump won amidst sexual assault allegations and critique following lewd comments he made on a 2005 video released by The Washington Post.

“The fact that Donald Trump got elected has shocked people and has essentially woken them up to the need to actually be present to build movements in defense of people that are going to be attacked,” Shibabaw said .

Gasper-Rabuck concluded her comments by saying students deserved better.

“We deserve a better culture, we deserve a better society, we deserve decent lives, and we deserve not to be sexually assaulted on our own goddamn campus.”

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