“Sluts” march through Omaha
September 19th, 2011
Omaha, NE – Self-proclaimed â€œslutsâ€ took to the streets of Omaha Sunday to send the message that no matter what women may wear, their clothes are not an invitation for sexual assault.
On a dreary afternoon, a large group of women, and men, brought some color to downtown Omaha â€“ made up with bright lipstick, bold eye shadow, boots and fishnet stockings. Holding up signs that read â€œNo means noâ€ and â€œDonâ€™t tell women what to wear, tell men not to rape,â€ they marched through Omahaâ€™s Old Market â€“ loud and proud.
â€œWe just want to be a positive voice as much as we can,â€ said Jamie Sughroue, who helped organize the rally. â€œPeople donâ€™t talk about this cause enough.â€
Sughroue said the rally was modeled after similar so-called â€œSlutWalksâ€ held around the country this year. They were prompted by an incident in Toronto, Canada in January, when a policeman, giving a talk on health and safety, reportedly said â€œwomen should avoid dressing like slutsâ€ if they donâ€™t want to be victimized.
â€œBlaming the victim for their predicament is never right and it happens far too often,â€ said Jessica Sophir, who joined the rally because she said she believes blaming the victim of sexual assault is more than an isolated problem.
â€œItâ€™s blamed on totally irrelevant things like what youâ€™re dressed in, if you left your drink at the bar unattended,â€ she said. â€œYou donâ€™t ask for that sort of victimization, you never do, and so the fact that it still happens really bothers me.â€
â€œYouâ€™re immediately asking for it the minute you put something on,â€ said Ayn Bahlke, standing beside Sophir. Bahlke said when it comes to rape, society is still stuck in the 1950s, where women are considered public property.
â€œIt has nothing to do with the fact that once you put on a fitted pair of jeans, or a shirt that shows a little bit of cleavage, that maybe you feel pretty good about yourself,â€ she said. â€œI like my boobs as much as the next guy,â€ she laughed, â€œAnd I feel like I can show them off without feeling like Iâ€™m asking for something more than just wanting to wear a cute shirt.â€
The rallies â€“ which have taken place in cities around the country from Dallas to Chicago to Seattle – are provocative by nature. The skirts are short; the signs are dotted with curse words. But thatâ€™s kind of the point. Megan Martin attended and said part of the problem is people are too afraid to talk openly about sex.
â€œThat leads to a lot of this unspoken communication that weâ€™re supposed to all understand about sex,â€ she said. â€œAnd itâ€™s no surprise that signals get crossed, and guys donâ€™t know how to actually ask for sex, and women are afraid to ask for sex because the minute they do theyâ€™re sluts. So I would just like to see the conversation about sex in this country to grow up.â€
Organizers of Omahaâ€™s â€œSlutWalkâ€ are planning to bring the rally back next year, making it an annual event that goes beyond the comments of one policeman to become a regular rally that sends a message â€“ loud and clear.
- Fighting Sex Trafficking in Nebraska: Whatâ€™s Lacking and a New Plan
- Reforms urged in Nebraska police lineup procedures
- Color Guard helps troubled teens find discipline
- Omaha City Council President Ben Gray talks with KVNO News
- Juvenile Justice Advocate Reflects On Forty Years Of Changes In The System