A group of activists, known as the Feminasty Guardians, marched through Isla Vista Friday to reach the scene of the altercation that inspired their protest against rape culture at UC Santa Barbara.
Katherine Kepski, the leader of the protest, encountered a woman outside her home on Sept. 16 who was being verbally abused by her boyfriend. The woman had allegedly been sexually assaulted by the man’s best friend while unconscious, and Kepski attempted to assist her.
The event featured a representative of the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center, members of the Student Activist Network and various members of UCSB fraternities and sororities.
Numbering over a hundred strong at the beginning of the event, the protest began at the Pardall Center with a speech by a Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center advocate. She asked, “What can we do to make our streets feel safer?” and called on students to intervene, remain vocal and share their stories.
— Daily Nexus (@dailynexus) October 15, 2016
The congregation marched through the streets of I.V. starting on Pardall Road, rounding the loop past 7-Eleven and continuing through Del Playa Road.
Partygoers on Del Playa issued a mixed response to the protesters, as some fervently joined in from their backyard chanting “2, 4, 6, 8, stop the violence, stop the rape” or “hey hey, ho ho, the patriarchy has got to go,” while others tepidly mocked the display, adding unrelated quips about party culture.
Regardless, all eyes on Del Playa were locked on the protest, with phones up documenting a crowd which grew to over 150 protesters of mixed gender, identity and race.
The marching stopped again at the end of DP where speaker Veronica Mandujano, a fourth-year black studies and chicano studies double major, spoke about the negative environment societal patriarchy has created for many women.
Mandujano called for “a reimagined and redefined feminism,” saying that male-dominated institutions have failed to create space and freedom for women.
Speaking to the growing crowd, she said, “We must be extra critical of our liberation politics and what we are passing on to the next generation.
“If your feminism is non-inclusive and is not intersectional, then it is not enough,” she said.
To the music of a guitarist singing to the crowd from a house on Del Playa, the protesters continued down the street chanting “Ni putas ni santas, Sólo mujeres”/ “Not sluts or saints, just women.”
“If your feminism is non-inclusive and is not intersectional, then it is not enough.”
— Veronica Mandujano
The crowd ended their march in front of Kepski’s house on Sabado Tarde Road. A woman with the Feminasty Guardians spoke about her enlightening experience in coming out about her sexuality and the aggression she found fighting against it. Kepski brought up Eric Daniel Villalobos, a representative from the Student Activist Network.
Villalobos explained that the Student Activist Network is a new group on campus dedicated to promoting activism and that they helped organize speakers for this event, plan its route and inform possible participants and onlookers.
The Rapid Response Network, he added, is a service that will notify students about events regarding “struggles of racial justice, environmental degradation, discrimination against the LGBTQ community and issues of immigration.”
The march ended with a final statement from Kepski.
“We have to continue this conversation. This is just the beginning”.
Though the march had ended, a group of at least 20 students continued chanting back through Del Playa Drive to Pardall Road, continuing to spread their message.