Students address rape culture
Published: Sunday, October 7, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 7, 2012 23:10
In January 2011, a representative from the Toronto Police said, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized.” This statement spawned outrage and led to a global movement against victim blaming. The event is called The SlutWalk.
UConn SlutWalk began with members of the Revolution Against Rape (RAW) group on campus. Rachel Stewart, one of the founders of UConn SlutWalk, said the importance of this movement is to give people a venue to share their stories and be heard.
“I am glad to have made this space for other people,” she says, “we empower them.”
During her speech after the march, Stewart explained why SlutWalk is necessary to break down the blinders of the “rape culture” we are living in. She listed specific cases in which victims of rape were disenfranchised by friends, family and the government. These stories varied from topics like, her friend who, on a feminist blog, was called a slut after she posted a picture of the dress she was wearing the night she was raped, to court cases in which perpetrators were acquitted because judges found that the attacks were not legitimate.
“We need SlutWalk because this summer Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri made a statement that if a rape is legitimate, then the female body has ways of preventing pregnancy. The 32 thousand women who become pregnant from rape every year would speak differently and the fact that he thinks some rapes are more legitimate than others is a very strong symptom of this rape culture.”
It is a forum for people to share their stories. The stage was opened to the public for anyone that would like to speak. Several individuals including, women, men, victims and supporters got up on stage.
These activists are working to change the culture of rape. The goal is that eventually, rather than being taught to dress conservatively or not to go out at night alone, instead it will be taught that no means no.
Kylie Angell, a coordinator of the walk said, “We walk because we’ve had enough.”
The walk congregated on Fairfield way on Saturday with participants holding signs and chanting “Stop the guilt and the blame survivors, victims, deserve no Shame.” This was UConn’s second SlutWalk and Stewart she plans to continue to have an annual walk to show support and raise awareness.
“We need to keep moving forward,” said Kelsey Barringham. “Keep SlutWalk going even in spirit.”