It’s been a few years since the first student asked us to hold a “SLUTWalk”; our immediate answer was “No”. For many reasons that have been discussed across blogs, articles, and in feminist circles, we decided at that time not to participate. Every semester since then, we’ve been asked by students to hold the event and each time we said “No”.
Then during the last election cycle, it seemed that every time we turned around, women were being called “sluts” on the national stage: for wanting birth control, for wanting safe and legal abortions, in addition to being blamed for violence committed against us. It was at that point that we started to talk/think about a way of participating that would bring awareness of the criticisms, but also be productive in raising awareness of how “slut” has become an even more broadly used weapon to silence progress through women’s participation, publicly or privately, in any effort to advance women’s status in our society. It is from this backdrop that we make the following statement about our participation:
In participating in the SLUTWalk, we fully acknowledge how the term “SLUT” has been historically used against white
women and women of color differently. Women of color have, and continue to, suffer higher rates of sexual violence and
the additional injustices of a still racist judicial system.
What we hope is that through our participation in the SLUTWalk, our community in Albuquerque and at UNM can unite to challenge not only rape culture, but to challenge the very use of the term “SLUT” as a weapon against all women.
We hope that all women (cis, LGBTQI, and all) and allies in our community will join us—wearing, yes, whatever they want—in order to say “These are the faces of who you call “SLUT” and we reject the idea that you can reduce all of our lives, our experiences, our humanity, and our pain to one word that dismisses us!”
The point is not to try to imagine what a “SLUT” would wear—the point is that we are named “SLUT” no matter what we wear.
We also acknowledge that others who may become involved will not share this exact standpoint and that is ok. We hope Albuquerque and UNM uses the force and energy that will surface from this march as a way to continue to take further action, to join us in the movement to fight sexual violence in all its shapes, forms, and intersections.
The UNM Women’s Resource Center welcomes anyone to participate in critical conversations, programs, future events, and in creating additional services for women in our community. We also look forward to the development of initiatives that work to prevent and address sexual violence against women and girls beyond the march.