Slut Walk protests rape culture



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People on College Ave. move aside and applaud Laura Doleful who leads a Slut Walk towards the Court House on Thursday. The event, organized by the IU Feminist Student Association, began with a speaker series in Dunn Meadow, followed by a march and ending with an open discussion on issues effecting women. James Benedict and James Benedict Buy Photos

Quinn Ashley paraded down Kirkwood Avenue with rainbow duct tape covering their 
nipples.

“Yes means yes, no means no, victim blaming’s got to go!” Ashley chanted with a crowd of about 60 people.

Ashley, a freshman, marched as part of the IU Feminist Student Association’s annual Slut Walk event. Slut Walk Bloomington, which started in 2012, protests slut shaming and victim blaming.

“A woman or anyone should be able to dress or present however they want without being harassed,” said Ashley, who scrawled 
“#BodyPositivity” across their chest.

Slut Walk began at 6 p.m. in Dunn Meadow, where the FSA set up a photobooth, tables for poster making, trivia and “slut statements.” Middle Way House also set up a table to raise awareness about abuse and sexual assault. Meg Davis, a sophomore, said this was her first Slut Walk.

“It’s also the first time I’ve talked about my sexual assault,” said Davis, who posed at the photobooth with a white board that read, “I wasn’t asking for it.”

“I’m just glad to be in a giant circle of feminist people,” she said.

Casper Mendes, an agender high school student wearing a crochet vulva pin on their jacket, made a pink, blue and purple poster that read, “Love All Sluts.”

“Every gender that’s out there needs to be a part of Slut Walk,” Mendes said. “Everybody is affected by gender stereotypes. Feminism matters.”

At the Slut Statements table, visitors were encouraged to write down their own experiences with harassment. FSA member Sophia Muston said the club plans to use the statements to create suggestions for the IU Student Association on changing campus culture.

“We wanted to be more interactive this year,” FSA member Carmen Vernon said. “Slut Walk is often criticized for being very white and middle-class, so we thought it was important to 
acknowledge other voices.”

Three speakers addressed the crowd. Graduate student Shadia Siliman criticized respectability politics, Middle Way House representative Evelyn Smith spoke about violence against transgender women and professor Lisa Kwong spoke about stereotypes of female Asian 
sexuality.

“We are not your China dolls or dragon ladies,” Kwong said. “We are warriors, we are survivors, we are human 
beings.”

After the speakers finished, the crowd marched into downtown 
Bloomington.

“This little black dress does not mean yes,” they chanted.

A group of men eating outside Noodles & Company on Kirkwood laughed as girls in bras and Daisy Dukes strutted past them. IU Dance Marathon fundraisers 
carrying red buckets looked 
confused.

“I guess you’ve got to 
respect the message,” 
one said.

Across from FARM Bloomington, Ann Shedd turned to her 8-year-old daughter.

“I don’t know if you understand this, but I’m going to explain it to you,” Shedd said. “They’re saying, ‘Just because I look good doesn’t mean you can touch me.’”

Shedd said it was hard to tell her kid why nearly naked people with duct-tape
 covering their nipples were marching down the street, but her daughter understood the message.

“I like it,” Shedd’s daughter said. “I think it’s good they’re doing it.”

“What’s the rule?” Shedd said. “Do we let anybody touch us without 
permission?”

“No!” her daughter 
shouted.

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