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September 19, 2023

Students walk to raise awarness of harassment

The high chances of rain didn’t keep SAAFE Center advocates and walkers off the street for the March Against Street Harassment.

Eight people participated, starting on Thurstin Street and continuing down Wooster Street. The walk ended in the community commons area near Insomnia Cookies.

The walkers carried signs with sayings like, “Hello my name is … not ‘hey baby,” and “Whistles are for referees, not women,” while chanting “Stop harassment, respect now” and “We want respect.”

SAAFE stands for Sexual Assault Awareness for empowerment. Patricia Karns, a center advocate and intern, planned the event to raise awareness about street harassment.

Street harassment entails cat calls, yelling out car windows and whistling at women, she said. Raising awareness of street harassment is very important to Karns because not many women know what street harassment is.

“It’s not OK. You don’t have to take getting whistled at, you don’t have to take people yelling at you from their cars, that’s not OK, and it’s OK to stand up for yourself. It is a form of sexual harassment,” she said.

Tiff, a SAAFE Center advocate, said a walk is a small step, but a small step is a start.

“To make a conscious effort to change the small things changes the big things,” she said.

The main goal for Tiff was to reach out to people and start an awareness chain.

“I hope at least one person will look at the signs and say ’hey, that’s not cool,’ and tell his friends,” she said.

Rob, SAAFE Center advocate, said he participated in the walk because he thinks men need to be made aware that street harassment is wrong.

“It’s important for men to be involved in stopping street harassment,” he said. “Historically, women have been at the forefront and that needs to change.”

The effects of street harassment spreads further than simply making women uncomfortable.

“Its not okay to yell obscenities at women, it degrades them, and it makes guys look bad,” Rob said.

Senior Meghan Duran-Whitmore went to the event to show support for those who have been harassed.

“I have friends who have been harassed,” she said. “It is something that needs to be addressed, and say it’s not okay.”

The group got many honks and waves while they were walking down the street.

“I think we got a lot of people’s attention, even though it was small, it did a lot,” Duran-Whitmore said.

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