Fed Up’ with rape culture

    A morning flurry of snow did not deter students from rallying outside the Bailey/Howe Library on Jan. 28.   In the wake of the controversy surrounding Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp), a coalition for women’s rights called Fed Up Vermont organized a rally to raise awareness of rape culture in the community.   SigEp was removed from campus for circulating a survey to some of its members that asked the question, if they could rape somebody, who it would be.    Some protesters said the closing of the fraternity was a big step, but that it is necessary to continue to raise awareness of such an important issue.   A member of Fed Up Vermont Kristin Nelson said that the atmosphere of college social life is not a safe environment for women.    “[It] does a lot of harm to the women at UVM and the way that they are treated within this culture,” she said. “There are many aspects of campus life that perpetuate societal rape culture.”   Standing under the overhang of the library, a group of dozens of men and women held signs and handed out flyers to a few passersby.   Some signs seen in the crowd included, “sexism is the weapon of the 1 percent,” “end cock-control,” and “down with dick power.”   Member of Fed Up Vermont, Hayley Mason said to the Burlington Free Press that she believed the rally is one of many ways to eradicate sexism on campus.   “Rape culture is bigger than one frat,” Mason said.   Speaker at the rally and English professor Nancy Welch said that UVM has recently been in the midst of racism, sexism and corporate cronyism, according to the Free Press.   The rally on Saturday was just one of many events Fed Up Vermont has planned for the future.   “We hope to have a large teach-in on sexism,” Nelson said. “By having protests and press conferences addressing campus issues…[we can] raise awareness on these important problems.”