The activist group Fvck Rape Culture is holding a silent candlelight sit-in vigil for unnamed victims of sexual assault tomorrow night. The event will be held at the Arclight Hollywood theater, where Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” is showing. “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,” the group said in a statement, adding that anyone seeing the film are invited to join in.
Elyse Cizek of FRC wrote the following statement:
“Nate Parker and Fox Searchlight,
“I am your audience. I have something to say. I refuse to give you my money or my praise for this film. I refuse to support a project that insists on treating me and other survivors of rape as plot accessories. I refuse to have my story written and glorified for the advancement of a man who refuses to support my right to exist of my own truth.
“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.”
Parker, who wrote, directed and stars in the film, was accused of raping a fellow student while attending Penn State in 1999. He was acquitted, while his “Birth of a Nation” co-writer Jean Celestin was found guilty and had his conviction overturned on appeal; their accuser took her own life in 2012. The movie officially opens this Friday, October 7, but many theaters will begin screening it tomorrow night.