A movement of rallies that traveled around the country has now made its way to Keene State College. On Thursday, Nov. 10, the Feminist Collective at KSC sponsored the movement called the “Slutwalk,” which allowed women and men to protest the excuse for sexual violence because of a woman’s appearance.
It all started back in April of 2010 when a Toronto police officer made a remark that women could avoid sexual violence if they stopped “dressing like sluts.”
This one comment triggered the emotions of women and men all over the world and the “Slutwalk” became a way to express that.
Jon Donais, co-president of the Feminist Collective, helped put on this event.
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He said the movement allowed women to be able to wear what they wanted without being a target for sexual violence.
“The ‘Slutwalk’ talks about bodies. We’re talking about what I’m wearing, how I’m perceived, how I’m judged, and people’s ability to recognize that what I’m wearing does not mean that they have power over me or that they can rape me,” Donais said.
The movement at KSC started in the Mable Brown Room in the L.P. Young Student Center, where students arrived at 7 p.m and made signs with sayings against sexual violence. Bands played on the stage in the Mabel Brown Room while students arrived.
Some students came in revealing clothing while others were in dressed in regular clothes but showed their support.
Students also wrote on their bodies to draw attention to the point they wanted to make.
Hillary Bailey came dressed for the protest in a red and black dress.
She said that she and her friend were among the few protestors who dressed for the occasion, but she said she thought dressing up helped make their point.
“I dressed up because I think the visualization helps. That’s how I thought of it, like, actually seeing people dress the way they want to dress makes people notice it more,” Bailey said.
After students made their signs and the bands finished playing, protestors marched out of the student center, down Appain Way, around Main St., and finished at the gazebo at Central Square.
The students in the march chanted as they walked down the street with their signs.
When the members arrived at Central Square the FEMCO members made it available for anybody who wanted to say something to speak about past experiences or their input on sexual violence.
“It’s sad, but there’s a good mix of men and women both that share stories of crimes against them,” Donais said.
The protestors yelled thoughts against sexual violence and talked amongst each other about what was on their minds.
“I just think that girls should be able to wear whatever they want to wear and not be judged so harshly from it. I mean you can try to look sexy and not be asking to be taken advantage of,” Bailey said.
While standing in the gazebo, a FEMCO member made her last statement on sexual violence before they dismissed the event.
Donais said the “Slutwalk” was not the first movement against sexual violence that they have held at KSC.
He said there was another movement that FEMCO puts on every year. The march is called Take Back the Night and is held in the spring.
Take Back the Night deals with the same issues that “Slutwalk” portrayed, but the message is sent to a wider audience and is based on a broader issue.
“Take Back the Night march is different because it’s all sexual violence, all rapes, all molestation, everything. It’s so that you feel comfortable walking anywhere,” Donais said.
Lindsey Labriola, a student at KSC, said she could not make the “Slutwalk” this year, but has been able to join Take Back the Night.
“I think it’s important for campuses to hold these events. It sends out an important message that college students should be aware of,” Labriola said.
Donais said where the “Slutwalk” is focused more on individuality, Take Back the Night focused on safety in general and the value of personal space. He also said the Take Back the Night movement grew every year and he hoped the “Slutwalk” would grow too.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I’m actually hoping next year for a budget request we’ll actually have an entire section for Take Back the Night and Slutwalk,” Donais said.
Donais said the budget as of right now would not let them make the events as successful as they would like.
He said that if they had enough money in the budget to hire speakers, then they might get a better turnout.
“There are so many people we could potentially hire to come speak at our events if we had the money. Speaking fees are $5,000 or $6,000 at least, so that’s our budget right there,” Donais said.
He said even though it doesn’t fit in their budget right now he hoped that some day it would and that someday the “Slutwalk” can be as big as they aspire.
Jen Richards can be contacted at email@example.com