A procession of about 150 people with signs, chants and statement-making outfits, marched down 19th Street on Saturday night.
SlutWalk began with a rally at 6:30 p.m. on the corner of 19th Street and Crickets Avenue where participants gathered to listen to speeches. Following the rally, the group walked down the sidewalk lining 19th Street until they reached their end point at Belly’s Café where the after-party was.
Elizabeth Seeley, a junior psychology major from Brownfield, was a speaker at the kickoff rally. For more than a year, she has volunteered at the Rape Crisis Center in addition to working with V-Day Lubbock Coalition for three years, which is Texas Tech’s organization to promote awareness to end violence against women and girls. V-Day Coalition was the main sponsor of SlutWalk.
“We are fighting against victim blaming,” Seely said.
She said SlutWalk began in Toronto, Canada.
According to the SlutWalk Toronto website, last year a representative of Toronto Police regarding a sexual assault case said, “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized.”
“I would describe (SlutWalk) as a community coming together to make a big impact and a change toward how our society and community views victims of sexual assault,” Seeley said.
Deniz Pinkerton, a law student from El Paso, has been involved in V-Day Coalition since 2009.
“I think the name SlutWalk embraces the negative word that people try to label victims with,” Pinkerton said. “It’s embracing the word slut as a way to remove the bad feelings around it.”
She said it provides a community of people who are empathetic toward one another. Pinkerton said it also offers resources and information for victims.
Seeley, a 13-year survivor of rape, said it helps victims to be unashamed.
“I think it really helps victims when people are willing to stand up and say, ‘Hey, you shouldn’t be ashamed of what happened to you,’” Seeley said.
Former Tech student Shaun Prince said he was first introduced to SlutWalk when one of the leaders came into his store, Shoes Heaven, to shop and began talking with him about the cause.
“I have a little 2-year-old who wears crazy outfits, and regardless of her age, I don’t want her to have to worry about guys looking at her and saying, ‘Well, she deserved it because of the way that she dressed,’” Prince said.
Prince said the name of the movement catches the attention of people within the conservative community of Lubbock.
“When they see SlutWalk they’re like, ‘Hey, what is that about?’” Prince said. “It gives you an opportunity to explain and let everyone know that we are here to help a cause, and we don’t think (anyone) should be raped because of how they’re dressed or their gender.”
Pinkerton said all kinds of people young and old, male and female are involved in the movement.
According to the SlutWalk Lubbock website, it is a positive experience for children as well.
“I hope one day that we’re going to have 500 people out here,” Seeley said, “and we’re going to have to find a bigger venue to put it in.”