April 11, 2014
If you took a poll here at Monmouth College and asked students if they believe rape/sexual assault to be morally wrong, the majority of them would probably say “yes.” Rape isn’t acceptable in today’s society, yet it continues to happen in huge numbers.
According to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN), a college campus with a population of 10,000 could see as many as 350 instances of rape per year.
Even though our society doesn’t agree with rape, some believe we promote a culture that shifts accountability from the rapist to the victim through victim blaming. Victim blaming would be excusing the actions of the rapist through justifications like she dressed too provocatively or drank too much and put herself in a compromising situation. Using this logic in an argument only promotes the continuation of rape culture.
Here at Monmouth, the Introduction to women’s studies course is organizing a SlutWalk on Saturday. A SlutWalk directly challenges victim blaming by gathering victims and supporters to rally against it through different forms of expression, including dress. “The SlutWalk is an organized response to those cultural phenomena that support and legitimize sexual assault and rape,” said Kate Zittlow-Rogness, professor of the women’s studies course that will be hosting the event. “The walk specifically raises awareness for how slut-shaming and victim-blaming reinforce rape culture.”
This year, the group is raising money for Victim Services, the local sexual assault and domestic violence crisis center. This program includes assistance to victims and survivors through a 24-hour crisis line, emergency services, and counseling.
The event will begin at 11 a.m. on Dunlap Terrace. Senior Sam Barranco will speak at the event, explaining what a SlutWalk is and giving some history. Then, Naomi Taylor, prevention educator for Victim Services, will speak about how slut shaming and victim blaming relates to sexual assault.