Women’s Rights Walk Across Marshall Campus

The “SlutWalk,” a walk meant to raise awareness of sexual assault on college campuses, will make its way across campus Wednesday.

“Slut shaming is an ongoing problem on college campuses when sexual assault victims try to report, so my students bring it up as a topic of conversation and debate each semester,” Whitney Flesher, assistant professor in the criminal justice and criminology program, said. “To bring awareness, they have this event every spring as a response to their passion for the issue.”

Flesher said students will gather at the fountain at the Memorial Student Center at noon. Then, the group will walk around campus to chant and display posters.

“I consider the students the organizers,” Flesher said. “I just help them put it together and get the word out and help in any way I can. I am the only faculty member involved.”

Flesher said those participating should expect backlash, because some will make their disapproval known. Flesher said when the group first gathers there will be a brief discussion about why they are doing the event.

“Sometimes students make brief statements voicing their opinions or local current decisions that reflect slut shaming,” Flesher said.

Courtney Bess, a sophomore political science major, said the women’s rights events that are held on campus are amazing and have an impact on all types of women.

“These women’s rights events try to be as inclusive as possible no matter your race and ethnicity, age, social class or sexual orientation,” Bess said. “I also feel as if these events give a broader, eye-opening experience to all genders that are not women.”

“It’s very empowering watching women of all backgrounds come together and fight for the same things and respect that we all deserve,” Bess said. “These events can help shape future generations and hopefully one day we won’t have to have some of these events and rallies to fight for rights that each individual should already have. I cannot express how important these small and big campus and nationwide events are.”

Bess said students are able to see different perspectives when there are feminist panels on campus, and they get to experience first-hand stories of real community-based people who have fought for years for their rights.

“I think being a student at Marshall has helped me grow into being an activist because it provides me with so many opportunities to help, not only me as a woman, but for even more oppressed women,” Bess said. “With all of the hate and negativity happening around the world in today’s society, the only thing we can push for are events like these and hope more students get involved.”

The public is invited to attend the walk. The walk is set to end at 1 p.m.

Alexia Lilly can be contacted at [email protected]