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Students protest rape culture in Fort Collins

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A small group of Colorado State University students and Fort Collins community members protested rape culture in Old Town Fort Collins Monday.

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The protesters came to voice their disagreement with the outcome of the Andres Alers case. In June 2013, Alers was accused of sexually assaulting a woman on an Old Town Square bench. DNA evidence, surveillance video and witness testimonies were collected from the woman, but the evidence did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Alers sexually assaulted the woman, and the jury found Alers not guilty Monday.

Following this verdict, the End RAPE Culture Fort Collins Facebook group and the Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center (SAVA) came Monday to protest.

“We are here to protest the verdict made this morning,” said Jenna Howerton, an ethnic studies junior. Howerton said she believed Alers was guilty.

Howerton said her goal in protesting was to create more conversation around the issue of rape culture in the community.

“Rape culture cultivates victim blaming and allows women to be sexually assaulted without any consequences,” Howerton said.

Brandi Williams, administrator of the End RAPE Culture Fort Collins Facebook group, organized the protest following the verdict, according to a post in the Facebook group.

“I want the silence to end,” said Brandi Williams, the organizer of the event. “I wanted to come out here and make some noise.”

According to LaRae Goldsmith, a business administration senior, she participated in the protest to open a dialogue between the Colorado State and Fort Collins communities.

“Rape culture is synonymous with our community’s culture at this point, ” Goldsmith said.

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Adam Hirschhorn, a Fort Collins community member, came to join the protest against rape culture.

“I am here to support their message,” Hirschhorn said.

Hirschhorn also attended a police brutality protest Friday in Old Town.

“I am very concerned about justice,” Hirschhorm said. “If we stick our heads in the sand while it’s going on, it’s not a solution. ”

Collegian Staff Reporter Megan Fischer can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @MegFischer04.

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