Rally at UMC Fountain supports women’s issues on campus
The “Vagina Warriors” braved the chilly winds at the UMC Fountain Tuesday to fight their battle to bring women’s issues to the forefront.
The student group, which also organized the event to support the Women’s Resource Center, held its first gendered speak-out.
“The goal is to really give voice to positive experiences surrounding gender and a positive environment for women on campus,” said Alex Bratschie, a fifth-year senior integrative physiology major.
Dozens of participants held up signs with sayings such as, “As a woman, I have no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world,” and, “We’ve chosen the path to equality. Don’t let them turn us around.”
The rally addressed women’s issues and confronted what the participants believe is a sexist and hostile campus environment with poems, stories and other forms of expression. Some participants read poems and stories they had written themselves reflecting their experiences and feelings while others read excerpts and adaptations of books and poems such as “If Women Ruled the World” and “In Celebration of My Uterus.”
Sophomore women’s studies major Meghan Bennett cited poems passionately. Her first reading was “The Blue Blanket” by Emily Gibson, which addresses the issue of rape education for men.
“I think it’s incredibly important to realize the women aren’t necessarily supported on campus,” said CU alumni Liza Hensleigh, who was attending the rally to support the participants and the cause.
In reaction to Bennett’s poetry reading, Hensleigh mentioned that it is the men who are inflicting the violence on women so they should be the ones educated about rape.
Although there was a strong female presence at the speak-out, there were also many male voices in the presentation along with many male supporters in the crowd.
International affairs major Mario Flores and finance major Charles Johnson also expressed their support of the Women’s Resource Center and women’s safety and respect on campus.
“I’m here because I believe that others have done things that are wrong,” Johnson said.
Johnson said people have the right to two things: The right to do what they want and the right to face consequences for those actions. People need to ask not only what their actions do to themselves, but also what their actions do to others.
“I’m proud to be my sister’s keeper,” he said.
John Henderson, director of the Greek Life Office, spoke of all the hard work that needed to be done by men on campus to encourage the celebration of people no matter how they identify in gender categories.
“I expect myself and others like me to work to make this a safe campus environment for everyone,” Henderson said.
Richard Rodriguez, a Hazel Woodruff Senior Scholar in women’s and gender studies, mentioned that unlike women, men are exempt from fearing physical and sexual assault on a daily basis, and therefore they have a responsibly to act.
“I thought it was a very positive and encouraging speak-out,” said supporter Stephani Bratschie, a sophomore anthropology major. “It brought a very open and positive platform for people to speak out against negativity on campus.”
For more information on the Women’s Resource Center and women’s issues, visit http://www.colorado.edu/womensresourcecenter