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Rape Activists to Hold Candlelight Vigil at ‘Birth of a Nation’ Opening

As Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” rolls out in theaters this weekend, the Fvck Rape Culture organization plans to team with artists, filmmakers and women in Hollywood for a silent candlelight vigil at the Arclight Hollywood on Thursday at 7 p.m.

“FRC recognizes the need to hold space for those celebrating the advancement of people of color in Hollywood while continuing to fight for the victims of sexual assault and rape around the world,” read the organization’s statement.

Parker has done several interviews in the run-up to the release, including on “60 Minutes” and on the “Steve Harvey” show. There has been considerable sentiment on social media that his interviews do not show enough remorse for his part in the 1999 rape case in which he was acquitted.

The event’s organizer, Elyse Cizek, a woman of color who is a writer, model and rape victim, told Variety:

“I chose to be a part of a demonstration because as a survivor I wish for space to be held for myself and others who have been left voiceless in an industry that has the power to create change but refuses to listen to the needs of those whom they have silenced. We are a huge part of their audience and are continuously victimized and shamed for the crimes committed against us, yet too often used as accessories and plot points for those who seek to gain from our experiences in spite of us. I personally am saddened not only for my own experiences but for those who were directly affected by the actions of both Nate Parker and those seeking to glorify him despite his negligence in addressing the issue of rape culture while simultaneously perpetuating it.”

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The press release from FRC also provided a strong statement against Parker and the film from Cizek. The statement reads in part:

“Nate Parker has the platform at this time to speak to his brothers on how to listen to us, respect our boundaries and rights as women, and lead the conversation on consent. When this happens, when he is willing to listen before silencing us, and when he can join the dialogue on what can be done to advance the voices of women everywhere silenced by rape culture and toxic masculinity, I will be his greatest support.

Until then I will not stand for it. Instead I will sit, in quiet solidarity, with those in need of a moment of silence for the lives and stories ignored by those who care more about the appearance of change than the responsibility of creating it.”

Fvck Rape Culture, which was also active in protesting the Brock Turner Stanford rape case, is an offshoot of Grlcvlt, an under-the-radar feminist group.

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