Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

April 17, 2014

SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

TAHLEQUAH — “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”

This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

SlutWalk originated in Toronto, Ontario in April 2011, and has grown to include rallies globally. Participants generally dress to draw attention, and protest against explaining away or excusing sexual assault because of the clothing a woman wears.

The issue is of particular interest on college campuses. According to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, one in five college women has been raped – forced to have sex against her will – at some point in her lifetime.

The Journal of Adolescent Health reported the same statistics for high school girls, with half saying they had told no one about the incident.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and Jyme Lowe, prevention coordinator for Help-In-Crisis, said she is very supportive of the NSU event.

“We believe it’s very important to be here to help create cultural change,” said Lowe. “With NSU leading the way, it’s important to show our support. One of the things I do is presentations here on campus on personal health. I often ask classes to give me a definition of the word, ‘slut.’ What I find interesting is that it can range from a junior high school girl who dresses a certain way, who has never been proved to have had sex, to a person who has sex mutiple times a day. If you can’t define it, it’s just a way to objectify and hurt women, and we want to change that.”

Laura Boren, vice president for student affairs at NSU, was pleased with the number of men participating in the walk.

“This isn’t about blaming victims for rape,” said Boren.

This isn’t strictly a women’s issue; it’s a human issue. It takes both genders to change a culture.”

Lowe said the chant used by Wednesday’s group is exactly why it’s important for HIC to participate.

“Because no means no and yes means yes,” said Lowe. “We all have to work together to shift our culture away from blaming victims, and instead hold the rape perpetrators accountable for their actions.”

NSU senior Brandy Weeks, a social work major, interns for HIC. She carried a sign in Wednesday’s walk that read: “Jesus Loves Sluts.”

“This walk is so important, because rage is such a problem in our culture,” said Weeks. “We need to work against victim-blaming. I’m also really excited to see so many guys participating. It means we have allies.”

Cherokee Nation Region 5 Prevention Coordinator Coleman Cox was one of the men who participated in the walk. His area of expertise is alcohol abuse prevention.

“It’s very common on college campuses to find alcohol abuse in cases of rape,” said Cox. “I participated in the walk, because I think it’s important to work on both issues simultaneously. Excuse No. 5 for rape, particularly among college students, is, ‘I did it because she was drunk.’ This is never an excuse.”

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