Panthers to strip in march for women’s rights

Photo by Garry Knight courtesy of Creative Commons.

Victoria Garcias/Staff Writer

Women have been fighting for equal rights for decades, since the battle for suffrage. Women have also been wearing less and less clothes over those decades, trading in stockings and ankle-long dresses for crop tops and booty shorts.

The current rape culture in our nation has assumed the position of victim blaming, because of a women’s transition to more skin exposure. Many would use the term “slut” for the way a woman dresses or her promiscuity, and even go as far as to say “they deserved to be raped” or “they asked for it.”

“The rape culture is real and we have to stop it,” said Audrey Aradanas, secretary of FIU’s National Organization for Women and a junior majoring in women’s and gender studies, political science and international relations.

In Lorraine Costa’s home country Brazil, “vadia” carries the same connotation.

“It is used to shame or degrade, as if the choices that a woman makes about her attire or her sexuality are motives to be ashamed, and are an excuse for sexual abuse,” said Costa, president of NOW and a senior international relations major.

Costa is organizing this year’s Slut Walk, which is April 3 beginning at 5 p.m. at the Chapman Plaza.

“The Slut Walk, to me, is a movement towards ending rape culture, as well as embracing the sexual liberation of women,” said Laura Hernandez, a junior majoring in political science and women’s and gender studies.

Hernandez, an FIU College Democrat and member of the Women’s Caucus Chair, thinks the walk is important “because sexual violence against women is especially pervasive in college campuses, and it is essential to take preventative measures.”

The walk will make its way around the campus perimeter and end finally at the Quad. The walk will be followed by live performances and a vigil ceremony until 9 p.m.

“Last year’s Slut Walk was my first and definitely not my last,” said Carl-Frederick Francois, a junior broadcast media major. “My favorite part was the march and observing the courage to walk all through campus in the outfits some were in. It was impressive.”

The Slut Walk is not only dedicated to raising awareness about the word “slut” and women’s rights — it also works to bring the reality of rape to light.

According to a recent study by the Department of Justice, 25 percent of women on college campuses are or have been victims of attempted or sexual assault.

With a fall 2013 enrollment of 52,980 and about 29,000 women, about 7,250 of those women would have already experienced or would experience a form of sexual assault or an attempt of it, following the study.

But according to the University’s most recent security report, sexual assault numbers have remained low since 2010. There were five cases of forcible and non-forcible sex offenses on all campuses and centers in 2012, according to the University’s most recent security report.

“Sexual abuse on campus is extremely underreported,” Costa said. “The reaction of law enforcement and peer pressure, blaming the victim, plays a big role on that.”

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