Members of the Organization of Women Leaders are preparing to take a stand against sexual assaults and sexism.
OWLs are planning Central Michigan’s second SlutWalk on April 26, an event that raises awareness of victim blaming in cases of sexual assault.
St. Clair Shores senior Ashley Scheetz, president of OWLs, said the SlutWalk movement started in 2011 after a Toronto police officer told a group of women that to avoid being victimized, they should not dress like “sluts.”
“SlutWalk is to support survivors of sexual assault and to bring awareness to the fact that no matter what you are wearing, no matter how drunk you are, or anything you (have) done before doesn’t matter,” Scheetz said. “The only thing that matters is your rapist should be held accountable, and there shouldn’t be any blame on the victim.”
SlutWalk demonstrations are held around the world, but Scheetz said it is important to hold one at CMU because sexual assaults are a large, but often silent problem on college campuses.
“I think a lot (of) time it’s an issue we don’t want to talk about because there is such a stigma against it,” Scheetz said. “But (a) college campus is the place to talk about this because we are in transition in our lives (where) we come into our own belief system and it’s the time to bring awareness on issues like this.”
Kori Jones, a St. Clair Shores junior and secretary of OWLs, said she was inspired to get involved with SlutWalk because she knows many survivors of sexual assault.
“I want to provide support because there are so many stories of people who are supposed to provide support for survivors but instead (they) choose to put the blame on them,” Jones said.
The route for the SlutWalk has not been confirmed yet, but will start in the Bovee University Center Auditorium. Registration begins at 1 p.m. on April 26 and the walk begins at 2 p.m.
Jones said there were about 150 participants for the SlutWalk last year and she hopes to gain more participants this year.
Scheetz said during the walk, there will be professionals available to provide support if anyone is triggered by the experience and needs assistance.
After the walk is complete, there will be a speech by Andrea Bredbeck, a public speaker and author who speaks to spread awareness of sexual assault.