A request for one weekend free of sexual assault in Isla Vista was met with profanity and flying eggs one night and cheers the next.
A group of 20 students, three-fourths of which were female, marched on Del Playa Drive supporting the “I Want A Truce” campaign on Friday and Saturday nights. The demonstrators chanted, “We want a truce; end sexual assault.” The event met different reactions each night.
“Saturday night we were cheered on, whereas Friday night we were heckled,” event co-coordinator Meredith Donin said.
On Friday, partygoers at a DP home threw food at the procession and chanted, “I wanna fuck a bitch” almost in unison with the demonstrators’ chants.
Donin, who works at the UCSB Women’s Center and coordinated the event with junior physics major Meredith Ashbran, said the campaign was a success despite the heckling.
“When you get a group mentality and people are trying to outdo each other, that’s what you get,” Donin said. “I think if we affected one person, we did a good enough job.”
Ross Matteson, an undeclared freshman, watched Friday’s demonstration from the sidewalk on the 6700 block of DP. He said though some reactions were extreme, the demonstration overall was a positive event.
“The problem of sexual assault goes much deeper than can be addressed in one weekend,” Matteson said, “but anything that raises awareness is good.”
Donin said that because not all rapes and sexual assaults are reported, there is no way to tell for sure whether or not the call for a sexual assault-free weekend was a success.
“Just because a sexual assault wasn’t reported doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” Donin said. “Because of the atmosphere that we live in, many don’t feel comfortable reporting rapes or sexual assaults.”
. This was the first time the event took place, Ashbran said, though a similar campaign, titled “It Affects Me,” took place in April. The idea for this particular event came from a speech given by feminist Andrea Dworkin in 1983, in which she asked for “one day off, one day in which no new bodies are piled up, one day in which no new agony is added to the old.”
The Women’s Center, along with Students Stopping Rape, Take Back the Night and Men Against Rape collaborated on the campaign. The groups set up tables near the Arbor all last week where they distributed fliers containing sexual assault statistics.