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Students protest sexual assault on Buskirk Field

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Lexi Browning | The Parthenon
Students line the sidewalks near Buskirk Field to peacefully protest sexual assault and rape culture.

On Marshall University’s Buskirk Field Friday, a group of students, staff and local community members peacefully protested a tweet posted by a Marshall student that said, “As soon as Donald Trump receives 270 electoral votes, I’m going to grab the first girl I see by the pussy.”

After this post was retweeted, Corynn Hawkins, a senior music major, and Tarryn Porter, a senior safety technology major, said they saw the tweet and were immediately offended.

Both Hawkins and Porter said they have been victims of sexual assault and don’t think it is anything to joke about.

“Sexual assault is no laughing matter, some people try to use it as a sarcasm point, but this is something that can and will happen to people,” Porter said.

Hawkins and Porter organized the protest by sending out Facebook messages to most everyone they knew, informing them about the tweet and how they were going to respond. Hawkins made some of the signs protester were holding. One of them stated, “97 percent of rapist don’t receive punishment.”

Gabriel Gray, a senior music education major, gave a personal testimony of why he joined the protest.


Lexi Browning | The Parthenon
Students line the sidewalks near Buskirk Field to peacefully protest sexual assault and rape culture.

“I have a mother, three sisters, one of which their ex-husband tried to kill her in a bath tub, I have nieces and one of them was raped and didn’t even know it. Not because she was intoxicated, but she just didn’t know what rape was. When she told me, it broke my heart,” Gray said. “I’m here representing, not only just women, but all groups of people who have been disenfranchised and it’s important that we step up and have this conversation.”

Dane York is a friend of Corynn Hawkins and said he heard of the protest through the Facebook message and drove from Charleston to dedicate a one-hour stand on campus to show his support.

“Some kid walked by and said ‘really? It was just a tweet.’ Its more than a tweet, these things are actually happening as we speak right now,” York said. “Unfortunately, one in three women is going to be raped in their life, especially on college campuses.”

Hawkins commented about how this election in particular is not only directly connected with the protest on campus, but is also relevant for the nation as well.

“This week is a huge week of transition for Americans and within our campus we need to know that we are not alone and that it is okay to voice our opinion,” Hawkins said. “Nobody should feel threatened on campus.”

“Women’s issues are super important right now, since we have a neo-fascist who has been accused of rape in office right now,” York said.

York also commented on the role social media has played on the issue and his opinion on what “Make America Great Again” really stands for.

“The concept of America made great again is a racist, xenophobic, transphobic, sexist and homophobic America,” York said. “I think the people who support Trump don’t care about the issues of women’s rights, racial discrimination, queer kids or Muslims. I don’t think anybody that supports Trump supports those people. Going to social media is a way for people to get their terrible and toxic opinions out there.”

Kyle Camacho can be contacted at [email protected]

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