S.L.U.T. Walks take to the streets

Angelica Cataldo, Entertainment Reporter

Mattoon resident Sue Dhermy was among the first participants to show up with a megaphone and SACIS shirt in hand to participate in EIU FEM’s fourth annual S.L.U.T. Walk Tuesday night.

Dhermy was there to support sexual assault survivors and SACIS.

“There should be zero tolerance of sexual assault on college campuses,” Dhermy said.

Dhermy said she is a big supporter of the survivors, as she is a survivor of sexual assault herself.

A group of about 50 people, made up of FEM members, students, community members and professors, gathered in front of Coleman Hall to march around campus, protesting and bringing awareness to victim-blaming and slut-shaming. FEM provided chant sheets and posters for everyone to use during the walk.

Philosophy professor Jonelle DePetro attended the walk after hearing about it from her department and with the encouragement of FEM members.

“(The walk is for) awareness and visibility for women’s issues and violence against women,” DePetro said.

In DePetro’s 20 years of teaching at Eastern, this is her first S.L.U.T. Walk experience.

Many who attended were dressed for the occasion in their underwear, high heels, pajamas and lingerie.

FEM member Alana Reinhardt, a freshman public relations major, said she hopes people see what the organization is doing.

“This is bigger than us and bigger than this walk,” Reinhardt said. “It’s a global thing, (and) it’s about every victim.”

Freshman sociology major Cassidy Webb and psychology major Mark Timlin were also among the participants who dressed for the occasion.

“This is a topic that needs to be talked about more,” Timlin said.

Both Webb and Timlin were dressed in skirts. Timlin wore fishnet and lacey tights with Mary Jane heels.

“Sexual assault is such a hush-hush topic, but it’s important for people to speak out and talk about how it has affected people,” Webb said.

Amanda Feder of SACIS spoke to the group about the services SACIS offers and thanked the group that showed up in support of the cause.

“I think this is absolutely necessary and powerful,” Feder said.

Feder had pamphlets and business cards to hand out that provided information about the services SACIS offers to sexual assault survivors.

FEM president Maya Lee began the march with a short speech about the origins of the S.L.U.T. Walk and its importance to FEM.

From there, the group marched their way through campus to the front of Old Main and looped around to 7th Street.

“However we dress, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no” was among the many chants that could be heard throughout Eastern’s campus.

As the group marched, bystanders waved and cheered in support of the cause and some drivers even honked their car horns.

Elysia Strueber, a freshman communication studies major, was a participant in the march and appreciated the bystanders’ reactions.

“The support from the bystanders was inspiring,” Strueber said. “It felt like we were all leaders.”

The march concluded when the group made its way back to Coleman Hall.

“I’m so amazed at how many people showed up,” Lee said. “The positivity and empowerment was radiating off of everyone. I had goosebumps the entire time (of the walk).”

FEM Treasurer William Harrison was also impressed with the turnout for the night.

“I’m still on a high from everything. I think everyone who came got what they wanted out of it,” Harrison said. “It was very successful, and it was just full of positive energy, humor and support.”


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