In preparation for what they have declared as a rape and sexual assault-free weekend, members of Students Stopping Rape will table in front of the Women’s Center this week to educate passersby on how they can help.
The fourth annual “I Want a Truce” campaign builds off feminist and writer Andrea Dworkin’s idea of a 24-hour “truce” in which no rape or sexual assaults occur. While the SSR expands the truce to last the full weekend, the concept that sexual assault is like a war against women remains the same.
“It’s less trying to stop rape for a weekend, but for the rest of our lives,” Katie Mahon, SSR coordinator and fourth-year sociology and communication major, said. “It starts by getting a conversation started.”
In addition to tabling this week, SSR, which is part of UCSB’s Rape Prevention Education Program, will walk along Del Playa Drive and Sabado Tarde Road in Isla Vista on Friday night, handing out candy and condoms as part of their campaign for safe and consensual sex.
To create this assault-free weekend, students will be asked to sign an “I Want a Truce” pledge in exchange for a free T-shirt. The pledge states that the signer will not sexually assault, harass or participate in rape culture by objectifying, catcalling or harassing anyone during the weekend.
“We’re not going to stop it in one day,” Rachel Turner, SSR educator and second-year psychology major, said. “But it really is an eye opener and hopefully it will get people to be less judgmental and more sensitive to the cause.”
Similar events are scheduled to take place in residence halls during the week, including a discussion about street harassment that occurred in Santa Cruz Hall yesterday, a movie night tonight at 8 in Francisco Torres, and an activity called “Guess the Rapist” tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in Anacapa Hall. Tonight’s FT movie, “Speak,” is a Lifetime Original Movie about a high school girl who was raped and as a result of her trauma, stopped talking.
“We’re not going to get the job done by adding more blue lights on campus or increasing the amount of CSO officers, but through talking and educating people about it,” Mahon said.
According to statistics, Mahon said, one in four women at UCSB will be the victim of rape or sexual assault by the time they graduate; and according to another study, less than five percent of rape incidents are reported each year.
“Last year, we got a lot of support from both men and women alike,” Mahon said. “It’s really empowering.”