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No Means No: Attending a Protest for Consent

Monday, September 13th 2021 at 8:30 p.m. began one of many protests against the alleged sexual assault to Jane Doe from a Phi Kappa Psi fraternity member at the University of Kansas. Community came in support of survivors, against the Phi Psi fraternity and Greek Life, and in support of consent. I was one of the thousands of community members and students who were there that night. 

We could barely find a place to park; the streets were so filled. After parking nearly a block away, my roommates and I walked up to the fraternity house. While we arrived, police were on both sides of the streets managing traffic due to the number of people there. To say I was in awe of how many people were there is an understatement; I was overwhelmed. I felt the support of thousands of people not only to support survivors, but speak against rape culture in Greek Life.

My roommates’ and my signs read, “No Means No,” “Boys will be held accountable for their actions,” and “One Time is too Many Times.”

My roommates and I went deep into the crowd of people with our masks on and chanted, “no means no,” “ban Phi Psi,” “hey hey, ho ho, rape culture has got to go” along with a rotation of a few other chants. The one that really stuck out most to me to the point of tears was, “we believe her.”

We believe her. 

In a crowd full of not just women, but men and non-binary individuals, these words affected me most. I started shouting along with the rest of the crowd and this phrase, “we believe her,” nearly brought me to tears. There I was, on the lawn of a fraternity house during an alleged report of sexual assault nearly in tears because these thousands of individuals believe survivors. 

However, after that is when things began to escalate. People began to rush up to the front door and that’s when my roommates and I took a step back from the action. Our first reaction was “we don’t want to get arrested tonight.” 

Once we stepped back from the crowd of people we were able to participate as much or as little as we wanted and soak in the amount of people in support of the event.

There was this one young lady who was offering support in case someone at the protest was pepper sprayed or needed help in any way. She was walking around with a small jug of milk, telling people her name and telling people where they could find her (when she wasn’t walking around spreading the information). It was truly a group of supportive people uniting to help a cause. 

Attending the No Means No protest was an eye-opening experience where I felt surrounded by a community of people fighting for the same ideals; it’s one of the memories I’ll carry with me the rest of my life. 

I'm a senior at the University of Kansas studying English. Outside of school you can find me curled up on the couch with my cat.
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