FIU students to march in movement with controversial title

Vinson Pressley//Staff Writer

When a student hears the phrase “slut walk,” the initial reaction may be shock or to take offense to the phrase. But, there is a purpose behind the words.

On April 3, the National Organization for Women at FIU will organize a “Slut Walk” to spread awareness about the many forms of violence against women. The walk will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Graham Center Fountain at the Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

Gabriela Bonilla, president of NOW said the purpose of this event is to call to action an end to rape culture, victim blaming and sexual violence.

“We teach people ‘don’t get raped’ instead of ‘not to rape,’” Bonilla said.

Bonilla said the latter philosophy should be embraced, encouraging people not to rape or harm others; this philosophy differs because it holds the perpetrator accountable for their violent acts, not the victim; unfortunately, the latter philosophy is not always applied to survivors of traumatic experiences.

Bonilla said the name of the movement resulted from an incident where a member of the Toronto Police department said during a discussion with students that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

Some students find the practice of victim-blaming appalling and inappropriate.

“Doesn’t matter what you wear, doesn’t give [anyone] the right to sexually harass a person,” said Janina Ordonez, senior sociology major.

Sophomore social work major Yoannie Corbil said that society places the blame on the wrong person and the people who commit these acts are not held responsible for their actions.

“[There’s] a double standard in which women get usually blamed for a lot of things,” Corbil said.

Although Corbil is in favor of the movement, she is not a fan of the name “Slut Walk.”

Corbil said the title of the movement should have positive connotations and that they should not “stoop to the officer’s level.”

Sabrena O’Keefe, assistant director for the Center for Leadership and Service at Biscayne Bay Campus, said the title could be hurtful because it could evoke emotions, stereotypes or offend some people who hear initially hear the phrase “slut-walk.”

However, O’Keefe did say the title of the movement can also be helpful because since the term “slut” has the ability to grab attention and may urge people to ask for an explanation of why the movement has that title, opening the door to a dialogue and spreading awareness about violence against women.

The opinions of the title of the movement may vary, but the mission of the movement and organizations like NOW promote female empowerment and advocate against rape, sexual assault and domestic violence.