Take a SlutWalk: A Protest Against the Slut-Shaming of Rape Culture

Mark your calendars for April 16 when Penn State students will join together for the 2015 SlutWalk. The SlutWalk is a national event to be held on campuses nationwide as a protest against rape culture and the ideas that blame victims of rape and sexual assault for the crimes committed against them. The event will be hosted by the women’s empowerment organization “P.O.W.E.R.,” or Progressing Our Women Through Empowerment and Reverence.

In light of recent campus events fraternities and sororities have been invited to attend as well as various other student organizations. The protest starts at 12 noon and will begin at East Halls and the group gathered will walk together to Old Main. People choosing to attend the protest are welcome to make signs detailing their frustrations and opinions. The SlutWalk is a sign of solidarity in a culture that is quickly growing apart in the wake of sexual assault.

To give a little background info, the first SlutWalk was held in Canada in 2011 after an officer by the name of Michael Sanguinetti, suggested that women could avoid rape by, quote, “not dressing like sluts.” His comments sparked widespread outrage and a call to action to reclaim the word “slut” for victims of rape and sexual assault. In this way, the word “Slut” becomes less of a hurtful insult and more of a point of power for women. Knowing that Officer Sanguinetti was not alone in his opinion, the organizers of the first SlutWalk created a demonstration in which women could come together as a support group for each other against the oppressive ideas of a patriarchal society. The first demonstration brought 3,000 people – much more than the expected 200. Now the event is bigger than ever and has spread across countless cities and countries. Currently, over 200 Slut Walks occur around the world every year.

Valley spoke to one of the organizers of this year’s SlutWalk, Tiara Rodia, in order to gain some insight on the upcoming event. As community service chair of P.O.W.E.R, Rodia hopes to bring awareness to a serious issue as women are constantly slut shamed and victimized.

“I think with the events of KDR…we just wanted to invite the community to have this SlutWalk and bring awareness,” says the junior Psychology major. “My biggest hope personally is that females stop getting slut shamed and people will realize that… what you wear doesn’t mean you’re trying to be promiscuous. Penn State is not Happy Valley 24/7 and there are issues that need to be addressed.”

P.O.W.E.R.’ s biggest hope is that the issues within our Happy Valley community are confronted head-on and the number of sexual assaults is decreased. There is no doubt that a statement will be made on campus – Valley and P.O.W.E.R hope that you all can make it.

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