Salt Lake City’s 3rd Annual SlutWalk: A Recap

The 2nd annual Salt Lake City SlutWalk.

[Ed. Note: this is a guest post from Kyl Myers. Kyl is a sociology PhD student and a sex educator in Salt Lake City. She’s a connoisseur of 90s R&B, loves lipstick, and makes a mean batch of guacamole.]

I participated in my firs ever Slut Walk this past Saturday. While I wish this was an event that did not need to happen, there was a great turn out of people braving the cold weather. Self-expression was encouraged with supplies for people to paint signs for the march, as well as an interactive art piece and the Clothesline Project, where survivors of sexual assault shared their experiences on tee shirts that were hung for all to see. There were powerful spoken word artists and talented musicians entertaining the crowd amongst tables set up by sponsoring organizations such as: Planned Parenthood, Postmos.org, SHIFT, the Utah Coalition of Reason, Utah Domestic Violence Council, Dolls and Gents benefits and events, the Rape Recovery Center, and Draper City Crime Victim Services.

The event kicked off around 1:00 pm – and the crowd grew until we marched at 2:00 pm. We walked, we protested, we chanted and yelled, and our voices went hoarse as we made new friends and joined in solidarity to stop rape, deny myths and make this problem visible.

We are all responsible for eliminating rape – and we can all do something to annihilate rape culture. Here are a few suggestions from the event:

  • Communicate with friends and family about sexual assault and encourage them to keep the conversation going.
  • Fight for sex education in schools so kids learn early about healthy sexuality, gender equality and communicating with partners.
  • Volunteer for a rape crisis center, the YWCA, Planned Parenthood or a domestic violence shelter.
  • Encourage boys and men to respect women and their bodies and decisions and to not put up with sexist, objectifying remarks from their friends.
  • Acknowledge that men, trans and gender-queer people are victims of sexual assault too, and challenge the narrow definitions of gender, masculinity, femininity and “appropriate sexuality” in our country.
  • Create a safe word with your sexual partner(s) and discuss your sexual boundaries with each other.
  • Do not engage in victim blaming. It doesn’t matter if a prostitute is walking down the street naked, or a girl is wasted at a party – she does not deserve to be raped.

Rape is not about sex – Rape is about power, control, domination and anger. Women have the right to walk down a street and not be afraid, harassed or asked “Why were you alone?” — “Why were you out after dark?” — “What were you wearing?” We should be asking, “Why are men raping? And how do we stop it?” Women have the right to go on a date and not feel pressured to have sex just because a man bought her some goddamn dinner. Women have the right to consent to sex one day, and not the next, without being called a tease. Women have the right to have sex with multiple partners but say no when she doesn’t want it. Women have the right to feel safe in their relationships. And girls have the right to grow up in a culture that values females and locks up rapists.

We would love to hear your suggestions of how we can stop rape and make rape culture a thing of our past!

*Correction: We initially reported that this was the 2nd annual event, but the SLC SlutWalk is in its third year!

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