Slut Walk 2013 rallies students to show support

Students walk around the Academic Quad after leaving the Hewitt Union Ballroom, where 300 T-shirts were handed out to students for the event. (Patrick Malowski | The Oswegonian)
Students walk around the Academic Quad after leaving the Hewitt Union Ballroom, where 300 T-shirts were handed out to students for the event. (Patrick Malowski | The Oswegonian)

With the warmth and only a light wind, it was a perfect night for a great turnout and for voices to be heard. The Women’s Center held the SlutWalk on the Oswego State Campus Tuesday night to take a stand against “slut-shaming” and violence against women. Men, women and even a dog dressed for the occasion and walked around campus, making a statement for the movement.

Kathleen Fulton, the co-president of the Women’s Center, said she was excited about the turnout, adding that they handed out 300 T-shirts in a matter of 10 minutes.

“I love the number of people marching together,” Fulton said. “Like the community and having so many people support our cause was wonderful.”

The event was founded when a Toronto Police Service representative stated that the risk of sexual assault could be reduced if women would stop dressing like “sluts.”

“We are here to reclaim the word that slut,” Fulton said. “Naturally ‘its not the physical word that causes offense, it’s the context of the word.”

Fulton said she feels inspired to hold the walk with the Women’s Center because of personal experiences and the name-calling she hears on the Oswego State campus.

“A lot of students, especially women, go out on the weekends and they’re called sluts because of the short skirts and the high heels,” Fulton said.

Many on the walk felt inspired to do the walk due to personal experiences in their lives that left them with a need to raise awareness about harassment and assault.

During her speech to the crowd before the walk, Fulton reiterated the reason why everything came together to take a stand.

Even pets came out for the walk on Monday. (Patrick Malowski | The Oswegonian)
Even pets came out for the walk on Monday. (Patrick Malowski | The Oswegonian)

“I don’t think there’s a single person who comes to these sorts of things who doesn’t have a personal reason somewhere deep down,” Kris Raleigh, treasurer of the Women’s Center, said.

Others came to support friends that had gone through rough eperiences and to help raise awareness in their honor.

“I know a lot of friends of mine that have been affected by sexual assault,” Abby Fraser, walker and volunteer, said. “And I think it’s a great cause and women should be able to wear whatever they want without being assaulted or victimized.”

The attire worn was left to the discretion of the walkers so they could properly express themselves. Some walkers wore the official SlutWalk T-shirts, some wore just their bras and others left their entire chest uncovered.

“I liked being able to just walk around in a bra,” Fraser said. “It’s very empowering and liberating. It sends a good message too of what we’re promoting.”

Fulton said they got positive feedback from the SlutWalk last year and this year was no different.

“We got a reaction last year, so we were like ‘why not do it again?’” Fulton said.

After the walk, many stayed around and shared experiences involving sexual harassment and assault, and to discuss the way people dress to express themselves.

“We need to be aware that no matter what we dress as it’s okay,” Fulton said. “Men and women need to know that it’s okay to dress that way.”

Students brought signs to show their support at the event, some even yelled chants as they walked on campus. (Patrick Malowski | The Oswegonian)
Students brought signs to show their support at the event, some even yelled chants as they walked on campus. (Patrick Malowski | The Oswegonian)