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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Student-led march shows solidarity with sexual assault survivors

Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

(Left to right) Avery Dalfrey, Zhara Maraj and Xochitl Fuentes walk with a banner during the Stand With Survivors March on Thursday.

The Stand With Survivors March brought the community together to voice their support for survivors of sexual assault.
On Thursday night, Texas A&M students and members of the Bryan-College Station community marched from Rudder Plaza to Academic Plaza, where they spoke about the the need to create a safe and welcoming environment for survivors.
According to general studies sophomore and co-organizer Zhara Maraj, the march was created with a singular goal in mind — coming together to show support.
“It’s a peaceful march, and the whole main purpose is to stand in solidarity with sexual assault survivors,” Maraj said, “Some people probably will associate it with a political movement, and that is okay, but it’s a peaceful march about solidarity.”
The march aimed to spread awareness about the issue of sexual assault, and Maraj said the campus was the best location in which their message could be heard.
“It is a good place to get people involved in the topic — especially if they don’t know very much about it,” Maraj said.
While the recent confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh recently sparked similar demonstrations across the country, Maraj said this event was planned prior to Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Political science junior Avery Dalfrey said that ultimately, the march was about bringing attention to a topic that is of importance to many college students.
“We need to be on the forefront and start helping the people who are affected by this and that’s what this march is about — spreading information and creating a space where we can tell people that you are not alone, we are here for you, there are resources here for you,” Dalfrey said.
Gathering attention and support for the cause was a major goal for the event organizers. Co-organizer of the march and psychology and neuroscience junior Xochitl Fuentes said the organizers hoped to make people feel safe and find encouragement in the support of others in their community.
“We hope that this activist event is more on love and focusing on the love aspect — caring and listening, rather than fear and running away from their stories” Fuentes said.
Dalfrey said marching was the best way to bring the movement’s message to a bigger audience.
“With a march you are able to mobilize a diverse group of people,” Dalfrey said. “We don’t want people to think that this event is only for liberals or victims of sexual assault. We open this up to all members of the community.”
Maraj said one important takeaway from the event is that sexual assault is not a political issue, and everyone can play a role in supporting survivors.
“It is not a matter of liberal or conservative because sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum,” Maraj said.
The organizers emphasized the need to continue discussion on the topic, especially because of the importance of the movement to college campuses.
“I hope to not only create a campus but a community and a society where survivors feel comfortable sharing their experiences because they have support,” Maraj said.

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