Slut Walk at SXU Brings Sexual Assault Awareness to Campus

Miryam Villarreal

April 21st, 2017

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The purpose of this is to begin a movement to end sexual abuse. In order to show support, Saint Xavier University hosted several events that began in late March and concluded in late April, such as a variety of panels, discussions, and activities.

SXU’s It’s On Us chapter has hosted events throughout the month in order to bring awareness. It’s On Us is a national awareness campaign created in the White House by former Vice President, Joe Biden, and supported by former President, Barack Obama. It’s mission is to end sexual assault on college campuses. Almost 200 colleges and universities in the U.S. are a part of It’s on Us, including SXU who joined during October of 2016.

SXU’s It’s On Us hosted a Slut Walk on Thursday, April 20th. Slut Walk is a movement of marching protests advocating to end rape culture. It began in 2011 as a response to the comment made by a police officer who had said that, in order for women to stay safe, they should avoid dressing like sluts. Slut Walk is a “call to arms to challenge the culture of victim blaming.”

The Slut Walk began in the diner at 2:00pm and was open to all the SXU community. Students marched inside and around the Warde Academic Center. It’s On Us t-shirts were available to purchase to show support.

There were a total of seven stops during the Slut Walk in which students discussed sexual assault myths and shared their thoughts with each other. Some of these myths included believing a person’s clothing was a form of sexual intercourse consent and believing that body language cues lead to consent regardless of the person not being mentally aroused. At each stop, the students participating in the Slut Walk wrote down messages with chalk on the floor to support victims of sexual assault and rape.

In an interview with the Xavierite, SXU’s It’s On Us president, Hannah Park, explained the importance of raising awareness of this issue on campus. “When you look at statistics for victims, they are usually coming out of high school and going into college . . . statistically, we probably have some survivors on campus. We really want to come together and let them know that they are supported, that they are not alone and that they have people to come to talk to . . . I think it’s very important to let people know what’s healthy and what isn’t,” said Park.

Park hopes participants of the Slut Walk and those who read the messages written with chalk on the floors take “a little bit of the message about not victim blaming,” to heart. “I want [students to know] that there are people here who want to support you, because this can be an issue where people feel very alone, so just knowing that there are people here that support them and care for them [can help]. I want them to know that this is not something that they have to go through by themselves,” explained Park.

SXU junior, Scott Marzana, was one of the students who participated in the Slut Walk. He shared his thoughts about the importance of raising awareness about sexual assault and rape on campuses. “I definitely do feel really strongly about the whole situation that is going on right now with rape and sexual assault . . . I think it’s important to talk about this on campus because a lot of sexual assault and rape cases actually do happen on campuses . . . it’s very important to spread this around a lot of campuses to make sure that people know, and are aware of, what’s going on in the entire United States,” said Marzana.

“[During the Slut Walk], I learned [that] there’s different laws [regarding] what is considered rape and sexual assault in different states. That was pretty interesting to know because I thought it was a general term that was used basically all around the world,” added Marzana.

For more information about SXU’s It’s On Us or about the Slut Walk held at SXU, you may contact Hannah Park via email at park.h01@mymail.sxu.edu.

For any emergency occurring on campus, contact Public Safety directly at 773-298-3911 ext. 3911.

Miryam Villarreal

Senior News Editor

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