By Samm Sack, Contributor
Scantily dressed women and men alike showed up on a chilly Saturday afternoon to strut the streets of Omaha. It was the clothing, or lack-thereof, that the participants wore that had drivers turning their heads to witness the 2014 SlutWalk.
It was then, with the public’s attention in the palm of their hands, the participants were able to get across an anti-sexual assault message with brightly colored signs and an event name that shocked curiosity into many.
The participants carried signs saying things like “Can I tackle you for wearing a football shirt?” in order to promote the idea that the victims of rape shouldn’t be blamed due to the clothes they wear.
The victim-shame cycle, the main reason for the walk, can be traced back to an event in Toronto, where a police officer told a group of young women that if they didn’t dress inappropriately, they wouldn’t be sexually assaulted.
However, a recently viral “catcall” video featured a woman walking around Manhattan in a crew neck tshirt and jeans, who still received more than 100 obscene or creepy remarks from random men on the street. While many of the calls included seemingly innocent phrases like “hello beautiful, have a nice day,” the majority of the remarks were said in a pretty creepy manor that might make a woman feel uncomfortable. There’s a difference between dishing out a kind compliment and scaring a woman from walking on the streets alone.
Although it seems innocent, even semi-complimentary, it’s degrading. Sexual harassment involves the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks, and a lot of these catcalls are just obnoxious or creepy. If you don’t have the audacity to compliment her to her face, in a nice fashion, then why bother? Furthermore, if acts like these are tolerated, then the progression of harassment at UNO will only advance exponentially. Who is to say that victim shaming won’t creep into our university just the same as it has everywhere else?
Colleges all around the country are overflowing in feminism movements, such as the acts of Emma Sulkowicz at Columbia University, who is famously known for carrying her mattress around until her rapist leaves the university by choice or by university action. Groups like “Who Needs Feminism? At UNO” are popping up all over social media sites, and Instagram pictures of “I need feminism because…” are getting hundreds of likes all over the country.
A rape issue was rising at the University of Kansas, where a hashtag #agreatplacetobeunsafe and the quote “Our silence leads us to perpetuate the myth that sexual violence is a small problem and the problem of an individual” is used in every other tweet. The tweets were meant as a way for the students of KU to lash out at the university, who was silencing victims of sexual assault.
Feminism gets a bad rep, which is pretty obvious with all of the articles or tweets out there criticizing it. Although feminists aren’t a group of bra-burning, men-hating or nagging women, they’re usually perceived that way.
However, why is it that we have to tell women not to get raped, instead of telling our sons not to rape?
There’s a feminist movement arising at colleges, and they’re emerging for a reason.