Lauren Baker stood on the SAC Plaza dressed in a lace shirt, a short black skirt and fishnet stockings, holding a sign that read “HUG ME I’M A SLUT,” in all capital letters.
SlutWalk, a movement that began in Toronto in April and has since spread to cities worldwide, came to Stony Brook for the first time on Wednesday.
The movement is aimed at raising awareness of the problems with what supporters describe as “rape culture” — the idea that victims of sexual assault are at fault because of what they were wearing or how they were acting leading up to the incident.
Baker was hardly alone in her sign holding, but none of the twenty-or-so other protestors decided to dress up quite the same way for the SlutWalk that took place on the chilly November afternoon.
“Too many people are victimized based on the way they dress,” said Baker.
The idea to hold a SlutWalk on Stony Brook’s campus came from a number of students who attended the event in New York City on October 1.
The Society for Global Awareness was the first on-campus group to propose the idea. The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alliance, the Social Justice Alliance, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, Students Empowered Against Sexual Assault and the Community Service Club soon joined in the effort.
“Rape culture in America, especially on college campuses, is an important subject to bring to light,” said FMLA Vice President Nicole Zinerco.
The treasurer of FMLA, who asked that her name not be used, also noted the importance of raising awareness of rape culture on campus.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this campus besides that people don’t know enough,” she said. Zinerco and the FMLA treasurer speculated that many sexual assaults on campus may go unreported because victims are afraid of being blamed for the attack.
Nicole Bose, a long time member of the SJA, said the event was unique to the campus because it specifically addressed rape culture and the practice of blaming victims, not just sexual violence.
Bose wore tall leather boots for the SlutWalk, but otherwise dressed as she normally would.
“This is as slutty as I’m getting,” Bose said, while holding a sign that read, “ladies is pimps too.”
In explanation of the sign that she held, Bose said that women should be able to dress however they want to. “Women can be players and not have to be afraid of sexual assault,” Bose said.
Nat Deroin, who was one of the first to show up for the march, thought the event went well. “I’m pretty sure we picked up people as we marched,” she said.
The marchers embraced the word “slut,” and Zinerco suggested that the word should have a different meaning to society than it does today.
“I think that [slut] has a negative connotation, and it shouldn’t” said the treasurer, who who believes that the definition of the term is purely subjective, and should not affect how people look at you.