Daret Spradley, a class of 2016 alumnus, was standing on the porch of 40 Mill St. having a “kickback” with friends Friday evening when he saw Athens Police Department cars driving by.

“I saw the police cars first, and I thought that it was something related to some criminal activity,” Spradley said.

The APD officers he saw were not driving after criminals, but rather making way for about 100 Ohio University students, alumni and Athens residents participating in F--kRapeCulture’s annual rally.

The group started at the bottom of Jeff Hill, marched up Mill Street and cut down Court Street to the Civil War Monument on College Green where six participants spoke out about rape and sexual assault on OU’s campus.

“It’s invigorating (to walk down Court Street),” Sasha Gough, an Athens resident and former OU student, said, “It reminds me exactly why I do what I do because I feel like there’s times where we’re not getting heard. And then there’s no better way than to just force people to listen to us.”

Claire Seid, a member of F--kRapeCulture and a senior studying sociology, said the goal of the day was to prevent sexual assault in the future.

“I want to create a better world for all the younger people out there,” she said. “The world that we’re living in right now is ... terrible, and if we can do … any darn thing about it, then that’s our duty.”

Hannah Koerner, a senior studying English and a member of F--kRapeCulture, spoke about the importance of administration transparency and confidentiality in regards to the OU Survivor Advocacy Program and the Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program, which she said is a primary concern of F--kRapeCulture this semester.

“SAP is functioning and confidential, and we encourage everyone to use their services,” she said. “But they have been drastically cut down.”

Prince Shakur, an OU alumnus, spoke about his own experience in rape culture and said that gender roles play a large part.

“I grew up in a Caribbean culture, and a lot of it is very based in gender,” he said. “You’re taught how to become the right kind of man. You’re taught to be the correct kind of woman. A lot of that puts people in boxes, and it encourages silence.”

Brittany Irwin, a freshman studying women’s, gender & sexuality studies, talked about “corrective rape,” or the rape of LGBT-identifying people in an effort to make them straight.

“To all LGBT members, your identity is valid no matter what,” she said. “Nobody else can change your identity. Your abuser cannot change you, they cannot help you and they cannot fix you, because you were never broken.”

Gough, also a member of F--kRapeCulture, said that helping to organize students against rape culture is something that’s been an important experience to her, and it’s important to stand up to the administration.

“Rape culture is something that needs to be fought,” she said. “It needs to be handled delicately, yes. But it also needs to be attacked straight at the top. The administration is not your friend.”

In addition to the speakers, Olivia Cobb and Sage Foote, both juniors studying English, recited original poems.

After the rally ended, Koerner said it was a success.“We are really happy with turnout and I think we had one of the best speaker lists we’ve ever had,” she said. “People were spectacular.”

Anastasia Nicholas contributed to this report

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