S.L.U.T. Walk brings awareness to rape culture

Tony Komada

Torri Griffith, Staff Reporter

Students strutted around campus clad in pieces ranging from racy pajamas, underwear and fishnet stockings with shorts, during this year’s annual S.L.U.T. Walk.

Students carried signs reading “It’s not consent if you make me afraid to say no,” and “Blame rapist for rape” as they marched down Fourth Street to bring awareness to rape culture.

Dana Gilbertsen, the president of EIU FEM, gave her definition of rape culture as a society where victims are being blamed and it is the inequality of people, of women, and victims.

Emily Stockdale, the vice president of EIU FEM, provided a small speech with background information of the S.L.U.T. Walk.

“In Toronto in 2011, a police officer told a group of students if women didn’t want to be raped, they need to not dress like sluts,” Stockdale said. “This blatant, inexcusable active victim blaming is what inspired the first S.L.U.T. Walk, which is now an event that is held worldwide.”

The walks are also an event against victim blaming and slut shaming because of the women wearing certain clothing and if the victim had been drinking or not.

Jo Stauder, a junior sociology major said, the walk was a place for victims to speak and be heard in front of people who are listening.”

Alex Woolley, a freshman art studio major, said the S.L.U.T. Walk brings awareness to something that society does not like to talk about.

“As a queer man, a lot of times people say I dress too feminine,” Woolley said “Many people call me gay due to the way I express myself.”

Stauder held a sign saying, “64 percent of trans people are victims of sexual assault.”

Annie Pettit, a sophomore English major, said that she was wearing a skirt before she came to the S.L.U.T. Walk, but she did not feel comfortable enough to be revealing during the walk in fear of what others might say about her appearance.

Callie Luttman, a freshman communication studies major, said what people wear, how they act and how they present themselves does not mean women deserve to be raped.

“I’ve been told as a bigger girl that I should not wear the things that I do, I’ve been told that I looked ugly or disgusting based on my choice of clothing,” she said.

Many of the students had different stories on why they have been slut-shamed, or put in potentially harmful situations. The one thing that these stories all had in common was their appearance.

“Women should never have to alter how they are dressed, the fact that we live in a culture that women are told they have to change the way they are dressed instead of telling men not to rape is where the problem comes in.” Gilbertsen said.

Although this was an event to empower victims of rape and slut-shaming, it created some negative controversy on campus.

In the middle of Stockdale’s speech, a male student yelled, “For this to be a S.L.U.T. walk, I see no pretty sluts.”

There were even a few people who joined the walk just to make a mockery of them.

Gilbertsen spoke about a group of three students who came and they were not there for the right reason or for the right cause. She did not want the event to be about those students who came and made a mockery of the walk.

“When there is negative controversy, the event is still getting talked about,” Pettit said.“ With controversy, people will seek knowledge and realize that rape is a problem.”

Gilbertsen said she hopes the people who did not know about the S.L.U.T. Walk or judged them for doing it stuck around and learned a thing or two about the issue.

“The word slut revolves around women, men can be sluts as well, but men use the word as hyper-masculinity as a way to put women back in their place,” said Gilbertsen.

Woolley said the word slut is a word defined by too many factors and it makes no sense.

Gilbertsen said, “If someone can open your mouth, you can open your mind, and if you can open your mind, you can open your heart.”


Torri Griffith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]