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Men, Women Unite to Educate on Safety

While most of the student group's meetings attract about 20 members, more than twice as many came to Toy Lounge in Dey Hall on Wednesday night to discuss the facts of sexual violence and share their own experiences.

Speakers were meant to feel like they were in a "safe space" to discuss very personal feelings involving sexual violence and rape, said Carrie Goodman, a freshman English major who is a member of FSU.

The evening began with a short speech from Carisa Showden, a graduate student studying political science.

She gave several facts about rape, saying, "As we all know, most rapes and attempted rapes are not reported. A woman is much, much, much more likely to be assaulted by someone she knows and not a stranger."

Showden said women should be aware that the two most deadly places for women are the kitchen and the bedroom.

She also said that the gender inequality in our culture contributes to rape, and that sexual violence will continue as long as there is sexual inequality.

Showden's talk was followed by a story from Teri Ziemke, a junior women's studies major, about the frequency of abuse. "Typically (abuse) is something we don't think about and that we take for granted," Ziemke said.

She said women must be on the lookout for common signs of a future abuser. "There are a lot of underlying issues that can discern what an attempted batterer might look like," she said.

She named jealousy, controlling behavior and rapid intimacy as three common traits of abusive relationships.

The meeting concluded with an open discussion for students to share personal experiences involving rape and suggest ways to eliminate sexual violence.

During the discussion, senior women's studies and psychology major Linda Chupkowski read a poem titled "With No Immediate Cause," by Ntozake Shange.

The poem sparked a lengthy discussion about the psychological effects of rape, with many attendees sharing personal stories and experiences.

FSU is a relatively new group that was created recently after two former campus groups combined. Fighting Legitimized Oppression of Women and the Women's Issues Network combined to create FLOWIN, which then changed its name to FSU. Goodman said the group was formed to end the oppression of women in all forms.

She also said this is one of the first events the group has sponsored under the new name.

Goodman said she hoped the discussion would help educate people about the severity of the problem, eliminate the idea that sexual violence happens to "other people" and train women to protect themselves against sexual violence.

She said one main goal was to make students aware of the different forms that rape can take. "There are more situations than just the stereotypical, you know, you're walking down the street at night and you're attacked," she said.

" . Part of that would be to say, `Well if it can happen to me, to my sister, to my friend, what do you do about it?'"

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