Miami Needed Another Slut Walk: This Is Why

By Guest Blogger
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When I first started organizing the second Miami Slut Walk, I had to do some research. I know that 1 in 3 women will be sexually abused during their lifetime – but how many in my school? How many women have reported being sexually abused on campus in the last spring semester? How many will need to for the campus security to do something about it? How many reports will make our student population to take the Slut Walk seriously?

It turns out that I didn’t need to make that count, and I didn’t want to. Numbers won’t make rape culture go away, and asking girls around campus if they were harassed in some way wouldn’t provide them with any justice or stop men from harassing them. What I needed to do was educate. What we needed was a Slut Walk.

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When folks were told there was a Slut Walk happening on campus, they didn’t know what to expect. The explanation is pretty simple: we want to bring awareness to the fact that women are blamed, shamed, and publicly humiliated for the way they dress, for suffering sexual abuse, for sexism, for being women.

We still struggle getting our own students to support the cause and support their own fellow students in ending victim blaming and slut-shaming. We are in our second year putting together a Miami Slut Walk because my school, Florida International University, is not free from violence. My fellow students and I live inside of a rape culture where sexual violence is normal, accepted, and expected – a system which supports violence and makes rape okay. Even worse, it is a system which tells us rape is our fault.

I took it upon myself to organize the protest. Four other women and I have being eating, breathing, and dreaming Slut Walk. We’ve contacted other student organizations, reached out to campus security, and promoted ourselves to the school journal – all in hopes that those campus groups would help us organize a call-to-action to end rape culture. We did struggle, and people did say no to us – but many said yes. We are very fortunate to have our campus police force, the Campus Student Council, the Women Studies Center and the Counseling and Psychological Services, by our side – as well as the organization Victim Empowerment. We started by reading and following the Feminist Campus Group Organizing Binder, and now we are more than ready to shout around campus: “my dress in not a yes!”

My group had an anonymous individual share her story this year on our blog in a comment – she was raped in her own dorm room while she was intoxicated and was too scared to tell the authorities because she drank and she was wearing a short dress. She was scared they would blame her, and I would be too: in Miami, we’re used to use short skirts and we dance to Beyonce singing “grindin’ on that wood.” In today’s warped rape culture, people would blame her – and would blame me – for drinking too much, for wearing a short skirt, for a crime committed by a rapist. The Miami Slut Walk needs to happen so my peers won’t be scared to go to the proper authorities when a rape happens. The Miami Slut Walk needs to happen so they won’t be scared that those authorities would call them sluts, tell them it’s their fault, tell them they need to drink less, tell them to wear longer skirts, or tell them to “behave like a lady.” The Miami Slut Walk needs to happen because nobody should fear the pursuit of justice.

I’m certain that we are one step closer to ending rape culture, or at least reaching the 40,000 students that attend FIU. Ultimately, we are simply doing something – and so should you.

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