Feb 24, 2020

Worldwide campaign against rape and abuse comes to campus

Women of all ages marched to the Free Speech Area at Fresno State Tuesday as part of the “One Billion Rising” event. They held signs demanding equality, justice and awareness for abused women around the world.

The event is where women from all over the world participate and exercise their voice.

A group of women called “The Raging Grannies,” took to the Free Speech stage and sang activist songs that address social issues.

According to the One Billion and Rising website, 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime.

“The sexual abuse to women in the military is sad, unfortunately some women are fearful of retaliation against them. I think a lot of them don’t speak up,” said Yolanda Rendon from Planned Parenthood.

Students, faculty and The Raging Grannies held signs of protest as each took to the Free Speech stage to recite poetry, spoken word and chants exercising their agency as women in a male dominated world.

“This event was started by author and activist Eve Ensler, and what she wanted to do was bring awareness to the issue and get one billion people to rise up against the violence, her way of doing that was in a positive and uplifting way,” said Sydney Pease, vice president of People Organized for Women’s Empowerment and Representation.  

Women shared their traumatic experiences of sexual assault. Stories covering rape and molestation were addressed.  

According to the Rape Crisis Center’s website, only 5 percent of college students who are sexually assaulted report the crime to the police and 82 percent of all sexual assaults are committed by people who know the victim.

“When living in a country that was founded on racism and slavery where leaders such as Thomas Jefferson raped many of their own slaves, I think it’s a real shameful history that we don’t talk about enough and I think these are conversations we need to start having as educated people,” said Maya Olais, with Students for Reproductive Justice.

For more information you can visit onebillionrising.org.

On campus, you can visit the Women’s Resource Center in the Thomas Administration Building, Room 110, or you can contact them at 559-278-4435.

They are on campus to help and assist with any questions you may have. If you or a loved one is experiencing abuse there is help.  

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