Monika Mala, 25, a grad student working at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Center for Student Cultural Diversity, had never heard of a Slut Walk before another employee mentioned it to her. She researched the subject and discovered that these anti-rape marches were happening, not just in the United States, but also in other countries like Africa and India.
According to Mala, these marches began forming after a Toronto, Canada police officer made a comment that, in order to avoid sexual assault, women should not dress like sluts.
With a large freshman class entering UNR for the fall semester, Mala believed it would be a good time to raise the issue of sexual assault and campus safety by staging the march.
“This would be a cool event to have here,” Mala said.
The protest took place Wednesday, Sept. 7, beginning behind the Jot Travis building on the UNR campus. Mala estimated the crowd to be 150 participants, including men and women. As the marchers moved through the campus, they yelled “a dress is not a yes” and “no means no” while carrying signs reading “victim blaming was never an option.”
The march ended in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union, where Mala introduced UNR Police Officer Jon Martinez, who talked to the crowd about the services the campus offers to improve campus safety. Kasey Lafoon and Tina Schweizer from the Crisis Call Center then spoke about common misconceptions about sexual assault.
However, the event was not without critics. Nevada Sagebrush columnist Enjolie Esteve wrote an article a day before the event, commenting that it sends a mixed message and elevates a degrading term used toward women.
“I never meant for the event to have a derogatory message,” Mala said. She wanted to dispel the myth that “just because a woman dresses a certain way she’s inviting … sexual assault.”[gallery, exclude=60,49,40 link=”file” columns=”2″]
© Paul Anthony George and The Reno Signal, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Paul Anthony George and The Reno Signal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.