Likening sexual harassment and assault to a war against women, campus groups have begun tabling this week for the fifth annual “I Want a Truce” campaign.
Throughout this week, the Rape Prevention Education Program, in conjunction with Students Stopping Rape and Men Against Rape, will table, pass out fliers and distribute T-shirts to students who sign a pledge committing to a sexual assault-free weekend. Those who sign agree to counter “rape culture” – which includes objectification, catcalling, touching or otherwise harassing an unwilling person – on the weekend of Oct. 19-21.
The campaign draws its inspiration from feminist Andrea Dworkin’s speech, “I Want a 24-Hour Truce in Which There Is No Rape.” The talk was first delivered in 1983 to a group of 500 men and scattered women in the Midwest who were part of the National Organization for Changing Men.
In the talk, the Dworkin advanced the analogy between sexual assault and war. Third-year linguistics major Anna Daly said the message is still relevant.
“We really want to end the culture of sexual assault and rape of all people,” Daly said. “Women can’t win, whether they have sex or not. If they do, they’re called sluts; if they don’t, they’re called prudes.”
Sarah Howeth, a third-year biopsychology major who attended the event, said the goal was to spread Dworkin’s message.
“We took the ideas in her speech and extended it by a little bit,” Howeth said. “Unfortunately, a weekend is all we can ask. It’s sad.”
According to second-year sociology major Meghan Morales, the groups had collected at least 200 pledges by the middle of yesterday, their first day of tabling.
The week also features self-defense classes in the residence halls and will culminate in Friday night’s “I Want a Truce” dance in the Student Resource Building.
In previous years, the group organized a weekend march through Isla Vista. However, due to alleged harassment from bystanders, Howeth said the group chose to host a party instead.
While Rachel Turner, a third-year psychology major and SSR coordinator, said “I Want a Truce” may serve as the only RPEP event of the fall, she said she hoped the message from this weekend would carry over into the upcoming Halloween weekend.
Second-year environmental studies major Charity Maramonte said she supports the “I Want a Truce” campaign because of her experiences in I.V.
“As a woman, I know the fears of walking around I.V.,” Maramonte said. “The more organizations we have, the better chance we have to fight [sexual assault].”