Following Gophers suspensions, hundreds rally around survivors of sexual assault

Organizer Sarah Super led a rally outside of TCF Bank Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Protesters stand in front of TCF Bank Stadium on Sat. Dec. 17, 2016. After 10 Gopher's football players were suspended for sexual assault, the Gopher's football team boycotted playing in the holiday bowl until the suspensions were lifted.

Chris Dang / Minnesota Daily

Protesters stand in front of TCF Bank Stadium on Sat. Dec. 17, 2016. After 10 Gopher's football players were suspended for sexual assault, the Gopher's football team boycotted playing in the holiday bowl until the suspensions were lifted.

Jackie Renzetti

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.