In Case You Missed It: PSA’s SlutWalk
BY Lauren Hamilton
On October 19th, the University of Maryland’s student-run organization Preventing Sexual Assault (PSA) hosted its first Annual SlutWalk with aims of spreading awareness on campus surrounding issues of sexual assault.
The SlutWalk originated in Toronto in 2011 after a cop’s crude remarks dissuaded women from “dressing like sluts” to avoid becoming victims of sexual assault. Inspired by the movement occurring in Canada and across the U.S. in subsequent years, PSA decided to bring their own SlutWalk to the Maryland campus. Meeting in a large group outside of the McKeldin Library, PSA’s leaders and many impassioned students touted signs emblazoned with slogans such as “Support victims of Sexual Assault” and “I am more than a statistic”.
The purpose of this walk, as stated by one of the leaders of PSA, is “to show solidarity with victims of sexual assault on campus…to redirect blame on[to] perpetrators… and to encourage the campus to engage in open dialogue about sexual assault”.
Beginning at the top of McKeldin Mall, the group walked to the Administration Building. Here, participants engaged in specific chants denouncing the admin’s decision to demote the role of the Title IX office, which deals with issues of sexual assault. The walk continued to Hornbake Plaza where victims of sexual assault and members of PSA were given the opportunity to share their stories. A representative from the University Health Center’s Campus Advocates Respond and Educate to Stop Violence (CARE) was also present to comment on the resources available for victims of sexual assault provided by the University.
The SlutWalk garnered much attention from onlookers with its brave student display of fervent support for victims of sexual assault. In a tumultuous time surrounding the portrayal of sexual assault victims in the media, empowering events such as the PSA’s SlutWalk show the value of passionate students’ desire to raise awareness on campus and effect lasting change.