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Experiences

I went to my first protest, Here’s what I thought

In this day in age, speaking your mind is so very important. I’ve always been fascinated with law and justice and have always gravitated toward cases where the main issue has to do with women’s rights. This year has been especially brutal, with the Roe v. Wade verdict banning abortion rights for women in many of the 50 states. Women’s health issues, especially when discussing one’s own body, should be up to the woman and no one else. Though this case is hugely important and should be talked about, there is another issue that needs to be brought to light that is so much more than a women’s rights issue.

Sexual assault is a serious problem in the world that affects people of any gender, social status and/or race. In my time here at CWU, an Instagram page has been founded (https://www.instagram.com/catsagainstassault/), detailing issues in how the school handles Title IX cases on campus. If you don’t know what Title IX is, it is a civil rights law in the US that prohibits sexual assault on a college campus that is funded by the government/state. “Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.” (https://www2.ed.gov/policy/rights/guid/ocr/sexoverview.html#:~:text=Title%20IX%20of%20the%20Education,that%20receive%20federal%20financial%20assistance).

Since 2016, CWU has investigated 186 cases of Title IX violations. There were 55 reports with findings, 0 expulsions of perpetrators, and 11 suspensions. To put this more simply, 1/5 of cases where sexual assault was discovered were resolved in some way. This is truly nauseating and something needs to change.

On November 3, 2022, a large collection of students between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm gathered in shifts to walk around campus in protest. Signs were made and each shift, a new club would support and repeat phrases for everyone to shout through a megaphone. Many Her Campus representatives attended throughout the day and showed their support.

CWU students protesting Title IX cases on campus

I started walking around 12:30. The information on the protest stated that attendees should try to wear all black, so I threw on my warmest outfit and headed out. I remember feeling extremely nervous and oddly scared. I felt like I may get in trouble, and looking back now, I’m so glad I dismissed that feeling. I was meant to be there, and I am so very proud of myself and so many other brave students for having the drive to attend. After my first lap and finding my HC chapter leader, Sierra, I felt right at home. I was truly liberated, I was fighting for a cause I believed in and it was powerful.

I ended up staying until the end, marching with everyone the entire time and at most moments, holding a sign (see Instagram photos above). During the last lap, Sierra and I grabbed some forms with information on the protest to hand out to onlookers. The group ended our last lap in front of the President’s office, shouting up at the building. At this point, the words being yelled through the megaphone were from the hearts of the representatives, which quite honestly made me emotional.

We all marched back to the Recreation Center and dispersed accordingly. I left yearning for more of that feeling. It was the coolest experience I’ve had on campus so far.

So what are my takeaways?

If something makes you angry and you want to fight for it, do that. Do whatever you can. Let your voice be heard. I would hugely recommend going to a protest for a cause you believe in. Participate in peaceful protests, dress warm (if it takes place outside when it’s 25 degrees), and do what scares you.

You never know, it could be the coolest experience ever.

Hi there! My name is Anna and this is my first year on the CWU Her Campus team! I am extremely interested in all things social media, theater/broadway, and criminal law! I'm from the beautiful Tri-Cities, Washington, and have 3 dogs back at home (I know, I'm a dog mom which automatically makes me THAT cool). I've always had a passion for all things theater and entertainment. I also dance here at Central for a dance company, so you might just catch me in a few productions! I'm so excited to take you along with me on my journey through college as I attempt to navigate this big ol' scary world! So excited to see what Her Campus has to offer, and I hope you enjoy my work!