Nearly 45 UC Berkeley students and community members lined up at Sather Gate on Sunday morning to participate in a 3.1-mile race aimed at raising awareness of sexual assault and prevention.
The race was part of the Cal Consent Campaign, organized by the ASUC Office of the President, which aims to address the stigma surrounding consent and sexual activity.
ASUC President DeeJay Pepito, along with the organization Bay Area Women Against Rape, hosted the race to fulfill Pepito’s campaign promise to combat sexual assault on campus.
UC Berkeley sophomore Jessica Li said that although she struggled to finish the race, she was inspired to continue running to show her support for sexual assault victims and raise awareness of the issue.
“The race was really hard, but I felt really motivated to keep going because I knew I was working toward a good cause,” Li said.
About one in five women in the United States has been raped or has experienced an attempted rape, according to a study from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“A lot of women are not aware of what sexual assault means,” said Jenny Fu, event coordinator for the ASUC Office of the President’s student enrichment department. “Raising awareness is very crucial to women and victims of sexual assault because a lot of the time, women don’t speak up.”
The event raised about $320, which will be donated to BAWAR to support its services, Fu said.
Race volunteers handed out purple wristbands that said “Living Violence Free” to participants as well as fliers discussing sexual assault and prevention to passers-by.
The race route began at Sather Gate, wound around Hearst Mining Circle and toward North Gate and finally back toward the Valley Life Sciences Building. Participants repeated the route twice.
Pepito’s office chose a 5K race as the method to raise awareness of sexual assault because the race both benefits BAWAR as well as the participants’ physical health, said Austin Pritzkat, Pepito’s chief of staff.
“Sexual assault is prevalent on our campus,” Pritzkat said. “One of the most important discussions we should be talking about is sexual assault.”
To address sexual assault during the Halloween season, Pepito’s team initiated a social media and poster campaign about a week ago that features images of men and women in costumes with slogans such as, “My costume is not my consent.”
The race also kicks off a variety of events hosted by Pepito’s office during the month of November and throughout the rest of the semester.
Contact Michelaina Johnson at [email protected].
A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Jenny Fu, event coordinator for the ASUC Office of the President’s student enrichment department.