Slut Walk leaves positive message

Students marched though campus to raise awareness against victum blaming and slut shaming.  (Taylor Clock | The Oswegonian)
Students marched though campus to raise awareness against victim blaming and slut shaming. (Taylor Clock | The Oswegonian)

The fourth annual Slut Walk, hosted by Oswego State’s Women’s Center, took place this Wednesday. The event gathered about 100 students to speak out against rape culture.

“The Slut Walk raises awareness of victim blaming and slut shaming,” said upcoming Women’s Center President Nic Fell.

Alexandra Gilliland, a representative from Planned Parenthood, began the night by communicating the importance of teaching perpetrators the effects of their actions instead of teaching victims how to prevent rape.

When you tell someone not to be out alone at night, not to dress provocative or not to sleep around because it will send the wrong message, you are not effectively preventing rape, Gilliland said.

“I’ll dress however I want to,” Gilliland said. “For example, this dress I’m wearing fits my butt really nice and it looks amazing with this lipstick and these glittery pumps. You know what this dress, lipstick and shoes aren’t saying? Rape me.”

Several female students dressed down in undergarments and a handful of male students wore mini-skirts and crop tops to characterize what society deems as “slutty.” One student demonstrated her support of the cause by protesting in her bare chest.

“I don’t like when people sexualize my nipples,” said Nicolette Viscusi, a senior women’s studies major. “I want to be able to go outside without wearing a shirt just like a guy can. You need to be the person who is the radical one to make it normalized. Women should be empowered to wear whatever makes them happy and show as much skin as they want.”

The conventional Slut Walk route was shortened to twenty minutes due to rain. During the walk, students expressed themselves through vivid posters and loud chants like “my short dress does not mean yes” and “blame the system, not the victim.”

Students made their way back into Marano Campus Center for free T-shirts, pizza and cookies. The speak out portion, which was sobering for audience members, followed.

“My favorite thing about the Slut Walk is the speak out,” Fell said. “It’s when people tell their own personal stories about sexual assault and it’s nice because everyone gets together as a community.”

Male and female students alike shared emotional firsthand accounts of rape and told stories of their friends who were victims of sexual assault. The group was very supportive and respectful to speakers.

The night concluded with hugs between participants,  some who were strangers, and many feeling like a grave weight was lifted off off their chest.

“We have to make sure people know it’s not OK to rape, regardless of the situation,” Viscusi said.

The Slut Walk began in Toronto in 2011 and has since become a global movement. It is held by the Women’s Center at Oswego State each year in April.

One thought on “Slut Walk leaves positive message

  1. Glad to see Oswego State supporting active dialogue on rape culture and victim blaming. Hope to see this dialogue grow.

Comments are closed.