U of U students participate in SlutWalk to bring awareness to sexual assault, ‘slut shaming’

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Dozens of scantily clad students paraded around the University of Utah Tuesday to raise awareness of sexual assault during the school’s first “SlutWalk.”

The goal of the walk was to bring attention to sexual assault awareness month and to call for an end to blaming victims for their own sexual assault.

"The intent of the event, is to say that our bodies are ours, and you need consent before you sexualize or touch anything you see," said CoCo James, Event Organizer.

"My outfit does not dictate you lack of control" and "to slut shame is to be lame" were just a few of the words written on signs that students carried through

campus.

“First and foremost to support survivors of sexual assault and to communicate to them that they were not at fault it doesn't matter how they were dressing they were not asking for it," James said.

These walks started in 2011 after a Toronto Police officer told students, "Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized," which sparked the social movement.

“The purpose of putting bodies on display is to recognize first and foremost that when we say that there is something that a women or anyone can wear that would make another person lose control implies that they're inherently rapists and they're not," James said.

The walk also encourages survivors to speak out against sexual violence. A Utah student named Tara (who asked not to be identified by her last name) is one of the sexual assault survivors who spoke at the walk.

"My personal experience made me want to make a difference and start to attack this issue because it's unacceptable that 1 in 5 to 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted and raped before they graduate college that's unacceptable,” Tara said.

The slut walk is a movement Tara is grateful to see make its way to the university.

“I view this as taking back that term and letting women know that it's not their fault and that things can get better and they're not reduced to other things they want to call them,” Tara said.

3 comments

  • miles (dave)

    you had better bet that the attacker is at fault for his actions, but being someone who dose not like to be a victim of anything bad i look for ways to control situations to my benefit, this includes mitigating against bad things.

    although it is much easier for me to respect a woman who advertises her self as being more than just sexual, i dont blame those who want to feel as though they can wear anything and not get hurt because of it, i know im glad that anything reasonable i want to wear i dont have to worry about getting attacked about it. however if i did get attacked for something i wore then i would have to act appropriately about it, to safe guard against people attacking me.

    and if my problem was about getting attacked sexually then i would start by looking at things like how i dress, how i act, who i hang out with, the parts of town i am in, what time it is when im in x part of town, how many other high risk behaviors i do that increase my chance of getting attacked, how many actions i do that decrease my chances of getting attacked, how effective is my means of fending off an attacker. maybe all of these things need to be changed, maybe only some need to be changed, maybe none of these things need to be changed. it all depends on how likely i am to get attacked and do i want to change that chance for the better or worse.

    when i had a problem with school bullies when i was in grade school i didnt hold signs that said “dont beat me up” and march around the play ground (this dose not mean im against anti bullying campaigns at schools, or speaking out against sexual violence). i figured out why they bullied me and stopped those things, and for those who kept it up i began turning those bullies into victims then i didnt have a problem anymore.

    • Miss Feminist

      While I understand your point of view – you need to understand ours as women. Women have been socialized to be skeptical and wary of every situation that we are involved in. We tell women to do everything they can to “reduce the risk” of getting sexually assaulted, but why are we not doing the same to men? Why are we not telling men to avoid certain situations, drink less, etc., to lower the risk of them assaulting others? Are women supposed to alter their lives just to potentially decrease the risk of getting assaulted? Here’s a thought, lets socialize men and women equally. Men need to know that consent is a real thing, and that there are consequences to them violating it.

      • miles (dave)

        sure i dont think the woman is at fault, like i said before i (although i would not suggest it) i believe a woman should be abble to wear the most provocative, sexually interesting, outfit that says come take me now ill take anyone. and that woman should feel safe, i think that it is reasonable to expect every man (but in this case to avoid a unfair stereotype ill also add woman because women can do sexual battery as well) to respect that woman and encourage her to become her best self (part of that encouragement in my opinion would be to not advertise her self so sexually to tempt others to see her as only sexual)

        i do believe that there are women (and men) who did everything right who dressed very modestly, were in all the right places did everything right and it still happened… way not fair at all. and when i think about what caused that person to sexually harm the other the answer i come up with is a much deeper one than any one thing, im thinking its got more to do with how the criminal was raised (or the lack there of), more to do with how that person chose to view the victim, it is a moral problem and when i think of where this problem is the worst i think of 3rd world countries where faith and family are not strong how these moral problems get addressed i think of the family and faith. i know here in utah and down south the christian community is taught to be upright and forthright men and women (thats not to say that all christians are but on a social level that trait is encouraged the problem comes when

        1 that information is not heard because the criminal is not in church or
        2 the criminal did not care about the information

        now i dont know if you are christian or not (either way i can respect you regardless) but if your thoughts are less than enthusiastic about faith then id recommend doing what the faith dose anyway and that is holding men to a high standard, with a you can do it kind of tone. i just got back from reading the posts on an article about the picture of that couple and although “truth” was among the worst you did not necessarily fight the good fight in favor of encouraging men to become better rather i felt your comments were driven more toward abandoning men for being the horrible creatures we all are. im telling you (and i think you know this) if you take the best person and tell him or her enough that they are a bad person they will be very likely to travel in that direction, and vice versa. if we let horrible things like what you guys said run free then we need to expect men who read that and hear that to unconsciously begin acting like it. sure after that guy reads what you guys wrote and goes and harms someone it is still that guys fault but id rather focus on prevention rather than who is at fault

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