Women’s Center presents Slut Walk

Students walk around Oswego State  on the march portion of Slut Walk behind a University Police car to help raise awareness for  rape prevention.  (David Armelino | The Oswegonian)
Students walk around Oswego State on the march portion of Slut Walk behind a University Police car to help raise awareness for rape prevention. (David Armelino | The Oswegonian)

The third annual Women’s Center Slut Walk was in full swing in the Hewitt Union ballroom on Wednesday afternoon, with a good number of students showing up to support for the cause.

Slut Walk is an event that takes place across multiple major cities and college campuses and was first started as a reaction to a statement by a Toronto police officer that sexual assaults would be reduced if women would “avoid dressing like sluts.” For the event, students march around campus, escorted by a University Police car, and chant about rape prevention related topics in order to raise awareness.

The festivities began with student representatives from the Women’s Center speaking on behalf of their cause by telling what the Slut Walk is meant to accomplish.

Two male students from Syracuse University gave guest speeches on their advocacy of rape prevention and what it means to them.

Free T-shirts were also given out as an incentive for joining in the walk, depicting a distorted human mouth on the front, and the female gender symbol with an empowered fist going through it on the back.

Samantha Fuller, a junior graphic design major and member of the Women’s Center, designed the T-shirt and said that the shirt was made to portray culture’s view of women.

“For events like this, you want to have a design that’s acceptable to all different types of people, because everyone has lips,” Fuller said.  “Our culture has sexualized women to the point where even our mouths are becoming scandalous.”

Fuller said that what the Slut Walk event is meant to humanize people and fight against gender stereotypes.

“That’s what this is all about,” Fuller said. “To raise people all on to the same level and create a bigger sense of humanity and kindness.”

When the marchers returned to the ballroom from the cold, they were met with pizza, refreshments and time to relax until the last part of the event took place.

T-shirts being handed out to students who came to the event, designed to combat society’s view of women.  (David Armelino | The Oswegonian)
T-shirts being handed out to students who came to the event, designed to combat society’s view of women. (David Armelino | The Oswegonian)

A speak-out session concluded the Slut Walk, where students shared their experiences with rape.

Some had been involved firsthand with assault in some fashion. It was the most emotional portion of the event, as almost all of the speakers went back to their seats in tears.

Many of the contributors who spoke gave their support to others who were overcome by their experiences by coming up on stage with them as they told their stories.

The event concluded with Megan Bittel, a representative from Services to Aid Families in Oswego, speaking on behalf of the program and giving some information about what people affected by a sexual assault can do.

Bittel is an educator of the prevention side of the program and goes to middle schools and high schools to speak on topics such as healthy relationships, age of consent, teen dating violence and anything relating to relationships.

Bittel said that SAF has a 24-hour hotline that is available for support and is available by calling 315-342-1600.