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Jessica Ensley - Columnist

Why we need International Women’s Day

Jessica writes about International Women’s Day and why, after the responses to her column last week, it’s important

On Sunday, Ohio University celebrated International Women’s Day. The event is meant to celebrate one another as women — something that doesn’t happen as often as it should. Oftentimes, women are shut down for simply having opinions.

When a classmate of mine asked me why I decided to write such a satirical piece last week, I answered that I had had enough. All of those things I wrote about actually happened. There really were male students convinced I was taking away their First Amendment rights by overhearing a conversation they had in public. Another student did tell me I was “unrapeable.” I am all for constructive criticism, but most of the criticism I receive is meant only to try to silence me completely.

Women in the public eye, who have an opinion on anything, are frequently harassed. After writing a satirical column about how I was harassed, I was then harassed on Court Street for saying so. Those men only proved how necessary it is to continue fighting for women’s voices to be heard.

However, I received much more support than I did negativity. I got emails from people out of state telling me how much my column meant to them. The supporters of feminism and justice outnumber those who aggressively oppose it. Through speaking out, we are creating change. My face wouldn’t be recognizable if people didn’t read my column and didn’t actually care about the issues I’m bringing up. There is truth to what I was saying, and those who felt the need to shut me down feel that way because I threaten their privilege. Even the people who truly hate me feel this way because outspoken women scare them, and the fact that people still think that way should scare you.

Demanding action provides results. The Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program has a new home in Lindley Hall for the rest of this year. The administration behaves like they have done this out of the goodness of their hearts, but it would not have happened without the pressure of student activists. And there is still more to be done. OUSAP still has no guaranteed funding for next year and sexual harassment happens on campus frequently. We need to stand together in solidarity. Whether that is having a conversation with your friends about rape culture or writing an email to Pam Benoit asking for the administration to fully fund OUSAP, we can change this campus for the better.

The more we speak out for change, the more there will be backlash from those who feel their privilege threatened. Don’t let those people lead the discussion or derail it. Take charge. Embarrass the administration. Piss people off. It gets things done.

Jessica Ensley is a senior studying journalism and an active member of F--kRapeCulture. Email her at

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