MU students protest sexual assault at Speakers Circle

MU students speak on their influence, and the sexual assault protests themselves, that took place in Speakers Circle on Oct. 5.

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MU students gathered at Speakers Circle on Oct. 5 to show alliance with Christine Blasey Ford and rally against Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination. The event consisted of several students speaking about their personal experiences as survivors of sexual assault. Many students wore black with the intention of showing support for sexual assault survivors while others were holding a large sign with “RESIST” written on it. Senior Emma Bryant thinks the testimonials were authentic, necessary and effective. “There were so many people who gave such powerful stories where they took that hurt and pain and sadness and turned it into power and took back what was theirs,” Bryant said. Bryant said she was inspired to attend the event as a result of ongoing anger and fatigue related to sexual assault matters.
“I helped create the event and came out because I am exhausted from watching Brett Kavanaugh and the news surrounding his confirmation,” Bryant said. “I’m exhausted as a survivor for having to listen to a survivor come forward and people around me arguing against Dr. Ford's testimony.... I’m angry. And nothing was happening. Nothing was happening here at Mizzou and I’m tired of just pretending like this is okay.”

Believing the protests were necessary, junior Gabriel Calvin wanted to educate others on the prevalence of sexual assault.

“I’m very passionate about what we’re doing here, especially considering the timing of everything going on and the powers that be of Congress,” Calvin said. “It’s extremely important [to have] these conversations, especially considering that not many men understand the degree to which these things happen all the time all over the place.”

Calvin feels pleased with the way the event went down due to audience engagement.

“Seeing people stop in and listen, and even just nod their heads, that’s something that I think is really important, and I’m really happy to be a part of it,” Calvin said. “The event went very well and I don’t think we could’ve asked for anything better.”

Bryant said the intentions of the event were to let survivors speak out and take action rather than just wait for the Senate to vote and to send a message to the U.S. government and the world that they will not stand for Kavanaugh.

“This event was really about what we can do because we can vote and we should vote, but that absolutely is not enough,” Bryant said. “The Women’s Liberation Movement came out of the Civil Rights Liberation Movement. As did women’s suffrage coming out of [the] Abolitionist Movement. So those movements were about taking that power that was not ‘given’ to people — [power] shouldn't have to be given. We need to take back our power, no permission necessary. We need to mobilize. We need to talk to one another. We need to unify. We need to get together and make a difference.”

Calvin said he assisted in putting the event together with other campus organizations, such as MU Socialists, Stronger Together Against Relationship and Sexual Violence and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Mizzou, in order to promote awareness regarding sexual assault.

Edited by Alexandra Sharp | asharp@themaneater.com

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