Second annual SlutWalk raises awareness about sexual assault

Photo+by+Susan+Arnold

Susan Arnold

Photo by Susan Arnold

Mary McDonough

Cold October winds couldn’t stop over 50 people from wearing everything from fishnets and boxers to coats and hats as part of the second annual SlutWalk Wednesday evening, held to support sexual assault survivors.

The crowd gathered to make a point about the objectification of women, specifically when it comes to sexual assault cases where women are given the blame for how they’re dressed.

Marching their way from the Hunt/Van Antwerp lobby, participants held signs ranging from personal sayings to facts such as how every 98 seconds a person is sexually assaulted. The crowd chanted “No means no” and “Silence is not consent” all the way to the new wildcat statue, with their chins held high. Marchers were escorted by a NMU Police Department officer to ensure that the march would remain peaceful in case of any protesters.

Topics ranged from sexual assault to women’s health, and the march was followed by a reading of an original poem sophomore business major and member of Men Outside the Box Henry Dalluhn, that urged men to “not take it like a man,” but to “ take it like a woman.”

Speakers brought in by Women for Women, including Jill Simmons from the prosecutor’s office, reminded everyone that “the numbers are changing all the time. Right now 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in their life, and for men, that’s 1 in 6.”

Simmons referred to the steady rise in survivors and sexual assault cases coming to light.

The group huddled around the bronze wildcat mascot as senior community health education major Lawryn Brown and junior social work and Spanish major Brooke Tharp—co-presidents of Women For Women (WFW)—read poems.

For Brown and Tharp, seeing such a turn out says a lot about the student body and what they want to do about sexual assault and its survivors.

“The students want to inspire change and its inspiring to see that we have people behind us,” Tharp said.

In efforts to educate the student body about sexual assault, Brown also acknowledged the constantly changing statistics and how they might influence people’s perception of sexual assault.

“I want people to realize that the numbers are wrong,” Brown said. “It’s still happening.”

For freshman secondary education English major Audrey Powell, events like the SlutWalk are important to NMU campus and its students.

“It’s a really good thing to know that there is a support system out there,” Powell said.