UA, Tucson community march against rape culture in 'SlutWalk'
Armed with signs and crop tops, more than 50 members of the UA and Tucson community gathered at the Women’s Plaza of Honor on Saturday to march against rape culture in SlutWalk Tucson 2013.
The event kicked off with interns from Feminists Organized to Resist, Create, and Empower, who gave speeches about rape and victim-blaming.
The walk went down University Boulevard and Fourth Avenue, with participants chanting slogans like “No means no.” Bystanders along the route cheered for the walkers as they passed.
One participant, Genesis Leon, a high school student, said she was taking part in the walk because her friend had been raped. She said she hoped the walk would raise awareness of rape culture.
The march also had many male participants supporting the cause.
Andrew Falwell, a chemical engineering sophomore, said he thought it was important to stand up for equal rights and to try to change rape culture.
“We live in a society that objectifies women,” Falwell said. “This victim blaming not only makes women an object, but also makes it so that it’s very hard to present equality in courts.”
Getting the community involved was an important part of the walk, said Emily Carlisle, a studio art junior and intern at FORCE.
“Community is a big key of this,” Carlisle said, “I think people being here in support is a wonderful thing.”
While some participants were dressed conservatively, others said they wore revealing clothing to make a point.
Marisa Mancillas, a traveler from California, dressed in a crop top and short shorts. She said the clothing was to make a statement about the way women are treated based on their clothing.
“Every time I had to go out of my house I had to think about what I was wearing, and what was going to happen to me based on what I was wearing,” Mancillas said. “We should live in a world where everyone is safe wearing whatever they want.”
The issue of rape and victim blaming is especially relevant to college students, said Amelia Marsh, a gender and women’s studies freshman.
“There’s a lot of stigma that surrounds girls who seek their own pleasure, and there’s a double standard there if men do,” Marsh said. “I really reject that idea that anything you’re wearing has anything to do with a violent act perpetrated against you.”
Marsh, like Mancillas, was dressed in a more revealing manner, wearing shorts and a bra. Marsh said she wore the bra to make a stand, and because she was proud of the way she looked.
Not everyone was pleased with the event.
Dean Saxton, a senior studying religious studies and classics, made himself known, following the march with a megaphone and shouting, “You deserve rape” at participants.
Most participants said it was better to just ignore him, adding that maybe he didn’t understand the point of the walk.
“Oftentimes ‘feminism’ and ‘slut’ are two words that are loaded and so people don’t actually understand what’s happening here,” Falwell said. “We’re just trying to get equal rights for everyone.”
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