Around 250 demonstrators rallied in support of sexual assault victim-survivors outside TCF Bank Stadium Saturday, an effort to show solidarity after 10 University of Minnesota football players were suspended in connection with a sexual assault investigation.
“This is happening far too often,” University alumna and sexual assault victim-survivor Sarah Super, who organized the event, said to the crowd. “[We are] proactively telling survivors in our lives, ‘We stand with you, we support you and we stand with you and not your perpetrator.'”
Over the course of five days, the football team announced then abandoned a boycott of all football activities, calling on the reversal of the 10 players’ suspensions. Five of the players face expulsion.
Braving 4 degree Fahrenheit weather for the 30-minute rally, the crowd of mostly college-aged protesters walked in circles, chanting calls in support of survivors and demanding perpetrators be held accountable. Some of the signs read “Stand with Survivors” and “Football is a privilege, safety is a human right.”
Super also founded an organization called “Break the Silence,” which hosts events supporting people who want to come forward as survivors.
University alum Kelsey Endres, 31, said she first met Super at one of her yoga classes, and heard about the protest through Super’s Facebook page. She said “Break the Silence” events help give survivors a voice.
“I think it surprises a lot of people who are not victims of sexual assault how many of us there are,” Endres said.
Katie Eichele, director of the Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education, was at the event with about 15 volunteers from the center.
“Sexual assault is so prevalent and we have to make people aware,” said biomedical engineering sophomore Rebecca Soderlund.