Anti-Rape Culture Demonstration Mounted at UW [VIDEO]
Chants, signs and speeches took center stage at the University of Wyoming campus Monday morning during a demonstration against rape culture.
The protest was organized following an incident involving a Facebook page called UW Crushes came under fire. The page, which had been used to post sometimes-anonymous personal ads, had posted a statement about a UW student that some are considering as a violent rape threat.
The UW Crushes page was taken down late last week following media coverage of the event and a viral response from facebook users in the state of Wyoming.
One event organizer, Amy Pauli, says that the demonstration, however, goes beyond the incident with the Facebook page.
"It's not just about the page. It's about the way rape-culture becomes fostered among students," says Pauli. "It becomes accepted among students and becomes more perpetuated by more explicit of threats sexual violence after women speak against feeling afraid. The ways in which that rape culture tries to silence women and men's voices, who feel afraid, because of threats of sexual violence implicit or not. So, it goes much farther beyond the original post."
Faculty, students and community members spoke during the demonstration on a wide variety of topics including speaking against rape culture, the role of social media in the modern age and victim's rights. All of the speakers did address the UW Crushes incident specifically.
"We cannot tolerate sexual violence, or any kind of violence, on a university campus. The fact that all of you are here today shows how much you support our efforts to make the campus as safe as possible. We all have to endeavor to be vigilant in those efforts."
-Sarah Axelson, University of Wyoming
Vice President of Student Affairs
"I think sometimes we feel when we challenge rape-culture, when we feel like we've been targeted, we feel alone and feel like we're in the minority. I am just so grateful to see all of these people here who are rallying around this issue, because it proves that you're not alone."
-Megan Selheim, University of Wyoming
STOP Violence Coordinator
The demonstration was attended by a crowd that fluctuated from approximately 50 to 100 people during the course of the event. Amy Pauli went on to say that she hoped to show support to the people who have come out against rape-culture at the university. "I think it'll be a positive show of support for those who do feel afraid, to say that rape-culture does not have a place on UW's campus."
The University of Wyoming police are continuing their investigation of the original UW Crushes incident.
Crushes pages exist around the country for other communities including a UW Crushes page that is for the University of Washington. Monday afternoon a page called UW Crushes 2.0 was started for the University of Wyoming community. Administrators stating that it was a different group of people managing the page said that "this time the rules are simple." A formal set of rules had not been posted at the time of this writing.