Mission Residents Protest Violence Against Women

En Español.

More than 100 people braved the cold on Friday afternoon to march throughout the Mission to protest violence against women.

The march was in response to an aggravated assault last Saturday in which a woman defended herself against a suspect who was attempting to rape her, she told police.

“We are here because of one incident, but one incident is too many,” said Rebecca Solnit, a writer.

Police continue to search for the suspect who is described as a 5’8-tall Asian man who weighs approximately 160 pounds, between the ages of 20 and 30. He has a buzzcut and a slight beard and was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and dark pants.

While that incident sparked the march, violence against women has been on the minds of many after a woman in India died after a brutal gang rape earlier this month and the recent conviction of Frederick Dozier, who was convicted for sexual attacks against three women on 24th Street last year.

The latest FBI crime statistics, which are numbers from 2010, show that rape is reported in the United States every 6.2 minutes.

Protesters — men and women — marched for 18 blocks on Valencia and Mission streets playing music and chanting anti-violence slogans in English and Spanish. People passed around a Manifesto For Safe Streets –a poster sheet which calls for the end of violence– and a flier listing self-defense classes.

Among the protesters was Tracy Mazza, who was stabbed in the neck four years ago during a robbery on 16th and Valencia streets, she said.

“We need to stop violence in general specifically violence against women,” she said. “We want to feel safe walking the streets.”

Amber Orantes of Bernal Heights echoed similar sentiments.

“I am not here to bash men, or whatever, but we want to feel safe walking down the streets,” she said.

Maria Machetess said attitudes about sex and women among many Mexicans needs to change. Humor among many Mexicans centers around double entendres that revolve around sex. If taken too far it can send the signal that violence against women is ok, she said.

She recalled an incident earlier incident in which she and her partner were chased by several men on 24th Street because they were gay, she said.

Mission Police Captain Robert Moser, who met with organizers before and after the march, said the neighborhood needs more people like the protesters out Friday night to keep an eye on the street.

“We can’t be on every corner so we need the ears and eyes of people,” he said. “we need the community to become good reporters of crime.”

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