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Students protest against slut shaming and victim blaming in annual Slut Walk

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Slut Walk

CAPE Project peer educators led "call and response chants" as the group of around 60 participants walked through campus, protesting slut shaming and victim blaming. 

*Editor's Note: Junior Bosie Rand prefers "they" and "them" as pronouns

Students protested against slut shaming and victim blaming in the annual Slut Walk, held on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Chi Delta, People for the Rights of Individuals of Sexual Minorities (PRISM), Active Minds, Psych/Soc Club and the CAPE Project joined in hosting the event.

Junior Gabby Contreras, CAPE Peer Educator, Psych/Soc Club President, Chi Delta Member and PRISM member said communication between each group during the planning process was easy as she is in almost all of them.

Sexual Assault Education & Prevention Project Coordinator, Suzannah Rogan said the purpose of the walk is in its history.

According to TIME, approximately 3,000 men and women marched the streets of Toronto on April 11, 2011 in a protest sparked by a Toronto Police officer’s comments. The police officer visited a group of students at Osgoode Hall Law School to advise the students on personal safety, when he said, "I've been told I'm not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."

Rand said the word “slut” is used to turn the blame on the victims of sexual harassment. They said the Slut Walk is about reclaiming that word and saying it does not apply to anyone.

There were various speakers at the event:

Natalie Julin-McCleary - Hope Crisis Center Advocate

Luke Reestman - CAPE Project Peer Educator/Delta Kappa Pi

Leah Schulte - Director of Religious and Spiritual Life

Abby Weber - CAPE Project Peer Educator

Marissa Morrison - Chi Delta Sorority

Ashley Leinen - Chi Delta Sorority

Allison Jasso - Forensics/CAPE Project Peer Educator

Gabby Contreras - CAPE Project Peer Educator/Psych/Soc Club/Chi Delta Sorority

Bosie Rand- CAPE Project Peer Educator

Rogan also gave an introductory and closing speeches.

Currently, Reestman is the only male on the CAPE Project team, Rogan said. Reestman spoke about what it means to be a man doing this work and why it is important, Rogan said.

Rogan said they recently recruited another man to join the team and he will be starting Fall 2019. There are also four male student-athletes who are their own group of peer educators as well.

Weber read “My Short Skirt,” from The Vagina Monologues.

“It really fits into the theme of the Slut Walk,” Rogan said. “The clothing that I am wearing doesn’t define if I want to have sex with you or not, which is often the first thing people say, ‘How much did she drink, What was she wearing?’ We are getting away from those questions but they are still there.”

Weber said the only way to stop sexual assault is through awareness, alliance and prevention.

Jasso performed a truncated version of a persuasive speech she wrote. It is about how to convince a university’s administration to adhere to some of the Obama Era guidance if allowed, Rogan said.

Contreras read an essay about consent and how it is framed in society, Rogan said.

Rand said they spoke from an LGBTQ specific experience. They said they spoke about how being bisexual has contributed to some sexual harassment they have gotten, both on campus and outside of the Doane community.

Outreach and Data Specialist for the Hope Crisis Center, Natalie Julin-McCleary, talked about the various services that the Hope Crisis Center offers. Julin-McCleary said Carrie Emerson is the on-campus sexual assault advocate who visits Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Counseling Center. There is a Hope Crisis Center office in downtown Crete staffed with two advocates, one of which is bilingual, she said.

“I hope that people will realize that sexual violence is an issue that we need to take seriously and realize they can be empowered to do something about it,” Julin-McCleary said. “Whether they are victimized or an advocate. I also hope people realize there are resources available like the Hope Crisis Center, we are free and confidential, we are here to assist people as they are going through a crisis.”

Julin-McCleary said that if a victim is nervous to get the help they should take it one step at a time and just think about having a conversation with someone who wants to listen.  

Junior Christian Stacy, president of PRISM said he hoped to bring attention to how sexual harassment affects LGBTQ people and women as well.

“There is kind of a problem within the LGBT+ community where everyone is looking for sex and not a relationship and when you have a culture that becomes highly sexualized, all of the negatives of being someone who is sexually active come with it,” Stacy said.

Freshman Myah Keenportz, Chi Delta and PRISM member agreed.

Keenportz said it was important to her to show that sexual assault does happen to LGBT+ people as well by attending the Slut Walk.

“I am a victim myself, we are all here for each other and that even though it does feel lonely, there are others out there just like you,” Keenportz said.

The event began at 6 p.m. at the Lakeside Coffee Shop in the Perry Campus Center. The CAPE Project supplied pizza and there were supplies to make signs for the march, Rogan said.

At 7 p.m. the speakers began to present their speeches and afterward, around 7:30 p.m., the Slut Walk began. Unlike previous years, CAPE Project peer educators led “call and response chants” as well. Those in attendance walked through campus and ended in Nyrop Hall in the Perry Campus Center at the “What Were You Wearing” exhibit to tie everything together.

“For those who have been victims of sexual assault, we believe you and support you,” Contreras said.  “The major goal (of the Slut Walk) is to support people who have been assaulted or judged by society and that clothing does not equal consent, a person cannot dress slutty, they are just wearing a skirt.”

On Wednesday, Denim Day will be observed on campus as well. Rogan said she scheduled the Slut Walk on the Tuesday before Denim Day because they relate to one another.

According to the Denim Day website, Peace Over Violence has run its Denim Day campaign for the past 20 years. It began, “after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.”

From 11 a.m.-1 p.m. the CAPE Project and Hope Crisis Center will be at the Beige Desk to bring awareness to Denim Day, victim blaming and slut shaming. There will be a prize wheel with a myth and fact game and the Hope Crisis Center will be handing out donuts, Rogan said.