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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

SlutWalk 2015, protesters walk against sexual assault and victim blaming

UA students and Tucson community members, gather for the annual SlutWalk march and discussion.

This Saturday evening, people of all genders, young and old, gathered to participate in the annual SlutWalk against sexual assault and victim blaming.

The walk, put on by the Feminists Organized to Resist, Change, Create and Empower, or FORCE, began at the Women’s Plaza of Honor on the UA campus. The group made statements about the national problem of sexual assault against all genders, and especially transgender women of color.

“This year, SlutWalk is more inclusive and intersectional, I think we have brought an analysis that is greater than just walking down the street,” said Yola Gomez, a senior double majoring in gender and women’s studies, and Middle Eastern and North African studies. “Also just focusing on the survivors of sexual assault, they will not be silenced…it makes a statement.”

The group gathered in the plaza and spoke out against rape and victim blaming. Those involved in the protest carried signs, and some went topless for the cause.

The name is meant to grab the attention of the community, said Ndekela Sakala, UA microbiology and psychology junior, and area leader education outreach with FORCE.

“So for me, using this word, we not only want to reclaim the word for ourselves, but also kind of remove the negative connotation of the word,” Sakala said. “I really want people to think about what it means when they say it to other people, I want people to analyze that.”

After a taking a moment of silence to honor all the murdered transgender individuals, the group took to the streets in protest and to bring awareness to their cause. The SlutWalk protesters made their way down University Blvd to 4th Ave., and even took to the streets during their march.

Police presence was evident throughout the demonstration. Officers rode alongside the peaceful protesters as they overflowed the sidewalk and occupied the street, chanting words against shaming, and some of gender empowerment.

The protesters chanted down 4th Ave. and took to Hopyard Deli for a special transgender sexual assault survivor panel. The victims of sexual assault and domestic violence were given the opportunity to speak out about their experiences.

“I think this protest is awesome,” said demonstrator Sam Weisband, a UA film and television freshman. “I think is was really needed, there are a lot of people, especially here in the Arizona area, that don’t really understand what this is about, I’m just really glad that we can protest and get information out.”

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