FEM hosting fourth annual S.L.U.T. walk

Angelica Cataldo, Entertainment Reporter

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Students will have the chance to take a stand against slut shaming and victim blaming by participating in FEM’s fourth annual Satirically Lessening Unfair Theories walk 5:30 p.m. Tuesday around Eastern’s campus.

The S.L.U.T. walk is open to everyone, and the participants will meet in the South Quad before the march to talk about the history and reason for the movement. From there the march will make its way around the entire campus before circling back around to the Quad.

The S.L.U.T. walk was brought to Eastern after Ms. Black EIU 2013 winner Alaysia Mitchell suggested FEM (formerly the Women’s Empowerment League) should bring the event to campus.

S.L.U.T. walks originated in Toronto, Canada where a police officer told women if they did not want to be raped, they should not dress provocatively. This news spread internationally and later led to the organization of the walk worldwide to fight the idea that the way someone dresses is the cause of the person’s rape.

The marches consist of people walking in a large group holding signs that speak out against rape and victim blaming.

At their walk, FEM wants to convey the same message of empowerment and take a stand against the effects of rape culture.

As a group, the members want victims of sexual assault to feel safe, supported and feel like they can openly express themselves.

FEM president Maya Lee will join forces with her fellow FEM members to bring a sense of positivity through their adaptation of the S.L.U.T. walk.

“It’s for (victims) to channel what they’re going through,” Lee said. “We want (them) to know they’re not alone and that we are here as a support system.”

Treasurer William Harrison said the event is more about empowerment than awareness.

“(It’s to) call out victim blaming and empower every person that participates,” Harrison said.

FEM vice president Alicia Henning said many participants bring personal signs and wear the clothing they were assaulted in.

“I really like that it brings healing, and I really hope people get what they wanted out of it whether its empowerment or encouragement,” Henning said. “People need to know that this is feminism.”

Participants are encouraged to dress for the occasion in pajamas, undergarments and meaningful clothes, or as secretary Jo Stauder put it, “full drag.” The members of FEM said to “dress however you want,” as long as they stay within the legal, standard dress code.

“I hope (after the walk) everyone has a general, human respect for one another,” Harrison said.

Lee said negativity will not be welcomed at the event, and anyone who attempts to be disrespectful or take away from the message will be asked to leave.

“There’s always a little bit of confusion (from people watching),” Stauder said. “People should know (FEM) is a safe space on campus.”

Stauder said in the time they have been a part of FEM, the vast majority of responses FEM receives has been positive.

“We have a responsibility to make people feel safe,” Lee said. “(The S.L.U.T. walk) is a chance to take a stand with like-minded survivors of sexual assault or supporters.”

Angelica Cataldo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]