Today, the first ever campus-wide SlutWalk will take place, rallying students of all genders and identity to protest the rape culture evident in society today.
“The basic part of SlutWalk is to make people see it exists, that it’s here, and that we want it gone,” first year Genna Davis said.
Davis is organizing SlutWalk SU as part of her activism project for her Introduction to Feminist Studies course, but she also is very passionate about creating awareness about rapeculture.“I’ve seen examples [of rape culture] here at Southwestern. Like when people refer to the parking lot near the soccer field as ‘rape lot’. I really just want to get a dialogue started on campus,” Davis said.
Rape culture is not just limited to campuses, but is also play a part in how cases and trials about rape are approached.
“Chief Brown came into my Intro to Feminist Studies class and gave a presentation about the sexual assault policies on campus,” Davis said. “She told us that when she went to some trials and they put her on trial and treated it like it was her fault and the victim’s fault: her fault for allowing drinking [on campus] and the victim’s fault for drinking.”
The belief that women can somehow predict and prevent their own rape is the kind of attitude that SlutWalk SU hopes to take a stance against. SlutWalk began when a representative of the Toronto police department told students at asafety forum at a New York University that women should ‘avoid dressing like sluts’ (huffingtonpost.com on slutwalk) in order to prevent from being raped.
“This is a prime example of victim blaming. They held the first SlutWalk in Feburary and it just spread from there,” Davis said.
SlutWalk has now become a ‘global, viral, grassroots movement’ according to the officialwebsite, slutwalknyc.com. It has also gained a lot of media attention due to their name and the clothing choices of many people who march in it.
“A lot of emphasis by the media is on what we wear. People dress provocatively and hold signs and megaphones and yell. What’s really important are the signs and what they wear. Many victims wear what they wore when they were raped, which are usually jeans and a hoodie. That’s the real uniform [of SlutWalk],” Davis said.
There is also an undercurrent of controversy to the whole idea of SlutWalk, stemming from the use of the word ‘Slut’ in their name.
“A lot of emphasis has been put on the reclaiming of the word ‘slut’ and diffusing it, but that’s not a part of SlutWalk I identify with,” Davis said. “I feel like ‘slut’ is a word full of hate and negativity and I don’t want that word to exist. It is meaningless as a concept. What is a slut?…Who decides?”
Ultimately, the goal of SlutWalk SU is to raise an awareness of rape culture and the blaming and the shaming that go along with it. The march for SlutWalk will occur from 12 p.m.to 3 p.m. today.
“I mean it to raise awareness, as a catalyst for change. And change can’t happen until we’re aware,” Davis said. “So hopefully SlutWalk will accomplish these things.”