Hundreds of people joined together Sept. 30 to attend the March to End Rape Culture in Philadelphia. The march, which started at Thomas Paine Plaza, included speakers from prominent organizations like Take Back the Night, which advocate for an end to sexual assault and provide resources for survivors.
Various students from schools across Philadelphia attended the march, including many from Penn. These are some of the people who were there and what they had to say:
College junior Fiona Jensen-Hitch participated in the 2017 campaign of the V-Day movement at Penn, which is best known for producing their annual production The Vagina Monologues. For Jensen-Hitch, the March to End Rape Culture seemed like another way to get involved in similar advocacy efforts.
"I found out about this march through Facebook and I knew people that were going to be here," she said. "It just seemed like something that was important to me, to make my voice heard."
"We are part of the Philadelphia community and it's really great to be part of movements at Penn, but we have to realize we're part of a larger city," College senior Emilia Hinckley said. "If we just stay on our campus, then we're not really doing anything to help the larger community. We have to use our power and privilege as Penn students."
"I'm feeling very empowered and surrounded by love and people who care about ending gender-based violence, violence in general," said Graduate School of Education student and 2017 College graduate Pearl Lo, who was the director of the Vagina Monologues production last spring.
"I'm here because I want to end rape culture. It's an issue that affects everyone, not just women," she said.
Temple senior Tyrell Mann-Barnes is the vice president of Student Activists Against Sexual Assault at Temple. He said he attended the march to stand "in solidarity" with other survivors of sexual assault.
"I'm here because more people should actually be joined in the conversation to fight rape culture and to fight the perpetuation of sexual violence," he said.
"Silence is violence as we are saying right here today. That doesn't necessarily mean people are bad people, but you should take the time to educate yourself and to listen to survivors and continuously engage in this conversation everyday regardless if it directly impacts you or not."
Bryn Mawr freshman Zijia Zhuang, who is from China, said she attended the March to End Rape Culture because "[a march like this] is not going to happen in China." This was Zhuang's first experience attending an event like this.
"When I was in China I read a book 'First Love Paradise,' and it was written by a Taiwanese writer. The story is about a girl, 14, and raped by her teacher. After she wrote this book, she committed suicide because this book is based on her true story. It's very influential in China and in Taiwan so I wanted to introduce it here. [The sign has] a quote from that book," she explained.
"I'm not a survivor of rape, but I can feel their pain and their anger and their hope moving forward."
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