Assoc. News Editor
S.L.U.T. has a much different meaning at Millersville University then one would think of when they hear the word. It stands for Strong Ladies United Together, which hosted its second annual S.L.U.T. Walk last Thursday on the SMC Promenade. The Empower Peer Educators and the Elsie S. Shenk Wellness and Women’s Center hosted the event. Representatives from the YWCA of Lancaster were also present, along with the MUPD and the Counseling Center who provided additional information on resources that MU and the community have to offer. All the donations collected during the event were given to the YWCA of Lancaster.
The walk tied into Silencing the Hate Week, which was hosted all last week. “We will continue this event annually each spring during April, which is Sexual Awareness Month, and Take Back the Night will be held annually in the Fall,” said Jill Arnold, project chair of the empower peer educators.
During the event, the empower peer educators provided information on how to put an end to victim blaming and raised awareness about sexual assault. The band Chaos Thompson was playing jazz/funk instrumental music while the walk commenced.
Empower Peer educators also set up a Victim Blaming Booth, and had a booth for Denim Day which is April 24th. The first Denim Day was held in April 1999 and has become a national campaign against sexual violence ever since. Students are encouraged to wear their jeans and their Denim Day patch on the 24th to raise awareness of sexual violence.
“I have been learning more about victim blaming and now, with such powerful support, I feel comfortable participating and standing by this cause,” stated Richard Khuu, a peer health educator. “I wasn’t expecting great results from the walk, but this ended up being a great turnout.”
Preceding the event was a color fight, where students threw different colored chalks at one another. The crowd was beautifully multi-colored for the walk. Damien Reider, a 07′ alumni said “I agree with the whole premise of the march. Women should have a choice whether or not to have sex, and men need to be held accountable for their actions. Problems tend to happen when women get pressured, and events like this help women have an upper hand in relationships.”
Slut shaming (also hyphenated, as slut-shaming) is defined as the act of making a woman feel guilty or inferior for engaging in certain sexual behaviors that deviate from traditional gender expectations. It is also used as a form of victim blaming for rape and sexual assault, such as claiming the crime was caused (either in part or in full) due the woman wearing revealing clothing or previously acting in a forward, sexual manner before not consenting to sex.
“This was important because it created a sense of community, and that’s what Millersville is really about,” stated Jake McClellan, “People view slut as a derogatory term and we need to change that at Millersville. Keep having this event over the years and my hope is that we will push the bounds of what’s possible.”
He also commented that, “the MUPD should focus more on the safety of women over the weekend, not as much about trying to bust people for weed. Weed never raped anybody.”
Another student shared some concerns surrounding the MUPD. Biology major, Megan Andrews said, ““I would like it if cops would wind down their windows and ask women if they are okay, that would make me feel safe. Cops should focus more in the safety of women than they writing parking tickets.” Furthermore she added, “I wish people understood what it meant to regard someone as a slut or whore, I mean, how somebody dresses and how that talks does not reflect what kind of person they really are.”
There was one male student who was dressed as a woman for the event.
“This whole event really grabs everyone’s attention. They must be really brave, I’m a little to shy for things like this, emphasized psychology major Becca Harris. “Feminism is always looked down upon. People make jokes that can really hurt, but it’s wonderful that a lot of guys and girls are here. This is a day for clearing up misconceptions.”