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SL,UT Walk of No Shame

A+collage+of+posters+at+the+walk
A collage of posters at the walk

A collage of posters at the walk

Meya Smith

Meya Smith

A collage of posters at the walk

Meya Smith, Editor-in-Chief

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Women are people. Do not ask “what if she were your mother, daughter, sister etc.,” realize that she, the woman you are sexually harassing, is a person and deserves respect.  Rape culture is extremely present in today’s society. Our own president has been demeaning towards women. Remember, “ You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything. Grab them by the p***y, you can do anything.”

 

When the man representing our nation has this mentality, that he doesn’t need permission to put his hands on another person’s body, what example is that to our youth? This demeaning behavior is accepted in our society and has devastating outcomes.  Authoritative figures sometimes seem to not understand that women are not objects, and when women have been treated as objects, it is not their fault.

 

Harvey Weinstein, a widely known and very successful film producer is currently being exposed for his multiple acts of sexual assault on actresses over the years. However, Weinstein is being backed by a few women such as fashion designer Donna Karan who said that actresses were ‘asking for it’ the way they were dressing. However, after experiencing backlash for her crude comment, she has apologised and done a complete 180 on her opinion of the terrible acts committed by Weinstein.

 

The Salt Lake, Utah Walk of No Shame stands up against victim blaming. The organization began after a Toronto Police representative stated, “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized.” This outraged women, and men, every where. Let’s be clear, if a woman dresses more provocatively, it does not mean she wants sex. The way we dress is a form of freedom of expression, it is a way that we make ourselves feel beautiful. It seems that in the minds of many, women do for men– when women dress in a provocative way, it is to get a man’s attention. If she didn’t want a man to undress her, she shouldn’t wear something that shows skin or her curves.

 

This year’s annual walk took place Saturday, September 30 at 12 P.M.. The group marched from downtown Salt Lake to the State Capital baring posters such with eye-opening statements such as “Don’t tell me how to dress. Tell them not to rape,” and  “Nobody asks what my rapist was wearing.” Many members of the diverse crowd = dressed in provocative outfits as well as a gesture to the movement.  

 

After a challenging walk up a hill, speakers shared their own experiences of sexual assault. Among the speakers was Representative Angela Romero, who sponsored Bill HB 200 which mandates rape kit testing.  Romero spoke of the injustice that not only women, more specifically women of color, but also children and the LGBTQA+ community face when dealing with sexual assault leaving a powerful message, “this is not just a women’s issue.”

 

Following Romero, Coco James, a woman who researches human sexuality, moreover sexual violence, pointed out that rape or sexual assault can happen within relationships such as marriage, or ones where consent has been given before.It is important for everyone to be aware that even if you have given consent before, the second you say no, that means the actions are to be stopped. You have every right to change your mind. Do not ever think that just because consent was given either a week ago, or two seconds ago, if you have given someone a kiss, it doesn’t mean you want to go any further– no means no. Although, it is important that you do make it clear what you are comfortable with.  

 

A major theme through the event was the stigmatism that follows conversations about sex. When asked to raise their hands if they had been taught about consent growing up, only 3 to 4 hands went up in the crowd at the rally. Although it may seem obvious what consent is, many are not aware and it needs to be a conversation.

 

Consent may not always be verbal, however it is about communication. It needs to happen every time. Ways to see what consent looks like can be found here.

 

As a message to those that are survivors of sexual assault, you are not what happened to you. You are a person with worth. You can survive what has happened, not everyone heals the same way. Find what works for you and don’t give up the first try.

 

Thank you to all that support the movement and recognize the true impact that it has.

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1 Comment

One Response to “SL,UT Walk of No Shame”

  1. Jenny Bragg on November 3rd, 2017 4:39 pm

    Beautifully written! I’m proud of you, Meya! I’m excited to see that you are the editor-in-chief this year.

    [Reply]

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