UC Berkeley students organize skirt rally

March 3, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
This past Saturday a serial molester, near the Cal campus, added two more female victims to his list. Now, there is a total of 20 attacks since last September. On Wednesday students will take a stand in what they're calling a "skirt rally."

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Leggings under skirts, for many Cal coeds, is the latest defense against a serial molester who runs up from behind, lifts women's skirts and assaults them.

"We should be able to wear whatever we want and feel safe, and comfortable and empowered," says Connie Chung, a skirt rally organizer.

That's why Connie Chung and a coalition of student women's groups are taking a stand. On Facebook they've organized what they're calling a "skirt rally" Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. at upper Sproul Plaza. They're encouraging women to wear skirts in a symbolic show of force.

"So I think in a way it's opening our eyes to sexual violence in a way that in my four years here has never happened before," says Natalie Camastra, a skirt rally organizer.

"He's been successful 20 times and fortunately for all involved, it hasn't gotten worse than it has," says Berkeley Police Officer Andrew Frankel.

Berkeley police say the suspect is a white male, about 5'10" tall, 160 pounds, with dark wavy hair.

One big question is, will more women taking a stand, in skirts, get their message across to the perpetrator?

"I don't know if that will actually get through to him. Like most ignorant people, no matter what you say to them it doesn't really get through," says Lidia Cho, a UC Berkeley student.

"I think a show of solidarity is good in any case," says Joel Leja, a UC Berkeley junior.

The student women's organizations are using this crisis to send a broader message.

"Too often women get blamed for what they wear, for their skirts being too short, their top being too low, for going out, drinking at a party and getting drunk, and that is always an excuse for violence and that's not okay," says Connie Chung, a rally organizer.

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