Students chimed in with “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” on the second SlutWalk held at Florida Atlantic University.
FAU Generation Action, a Planned Parenthood chapter, hosted the Wednesday march to “[raise] awareness about sexual injustice and gender inequality” and “[shift] the paradigm of rape culture,” according to their Facebook event. A few dozen like-minded students attended, eager to make their voices heard.
The walk welcomed all genders, but was also for anyone who has experienced sexual harassment or assault. Part of a table display set up by FAU Owls Care Health Promotion highlighted how rape culture can affect the LGBT community, as well as men.
“The statistics of sexual assault on trans people are very high,” film student Rachel Martin said.
“Mistress of Ceremonies” Nicole Johnson explained why she believes college students should participate in events like this.
“We have to know what changes we want to make, and then make them happen,” she said. “Surrender only to yourself.”
Before the walk started, attendees sat around a table crafting colorful signs and discussed the principles behind the SlutWalk movement.
Graduate student Ian Blake weighed in as he drew a sign that read, “Hurray Sluts!”
“We are literally biologically programmed to enjoy sex,” he said. “It’s ridiculous to shame half of the population for enjoying their sexuality. It’s true that we don’t have to be limited by our biology, but we should certainly not be limited by our culture.”
Pre-med student Mabelin Bernal added, “In our society, men are allowed to do whatever they want, but women are shamed for what they wear and what they choose to do with their bodies.”
During the walk, participants held up their signs and chanted, “No means no! Yes means yes! Maybe means maybe! Don’t call me baby!” “My body! My choice!” and “No matter where you go, no matter how you dress, no means no and yes means yes!”
While the attendees agreed unanimously on the importance of ending rape culture and allowing women to own their sexuality, the opinions on the event’s title “SlutWalk” varied.
Some were concerned it could be polarizing.
“It might be the wrong word for what we’re trying to accomplish,” Johnson said, worried that people might write off the event because of its title.
Others felt it was time to rethink the term’s context.
“The word ‘slut’ or ‘whore’ came from prostitutes,” Martin said. “Our bodies are already very exploited [in our society], so why are we shamed for being sexual or making our own choices?”
Student Natalie Balaguer believes increased education would help.
“Sex ed and education about consent are not taught enough in schools,” she said.
Martin agreed, and said she makes a point to educate the men in her life.
“I’m always hammering feminism into my brothers’ head,” she said, laughing.
Following the march, pizza and water bottles were provided for participants. Student singers Muna Muhammad and Aubrey Laudano performed several Top 40 hits, as well as Alicia Key’s “Girl On Fire” to close out the event.
Funded in part by Planned Parenthood, the walk is part of a global movement that began in 2011.