Students and staff of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott campus joined with students from Yavapai College, Prescott College, and the local community for the first Prescott SlutWalk. Lilith Matthews and Richard Huether put the event together after seeing photographs from other SlutWalks on the internet. About 50 people gathered for the event on Saturday, March 30 in the Chipotle Grill parking lot on Montezuma Street. The protesters started walking a little after 5:30 p.m. towards the courthouse.

A SlutWalk is a protest to raise awareness that victims of sexual assault and rape should never be blamed. The protest highlighted the issue that it doesn’t matter what someone is wearing; no one asks for rape, by definition. Huether’s protest sign stated this fact.

The SlutWalks began in Toronto, Canada in 2011 when a police officer said it was the victim’s fault for being sexually assaulted. It has become an international movement to protest victim blaming and shock people into the idea of considering the root cause of rape.

The SlutWalk is not advocating people to stop defending themselves. It advocates that people should stop blaming victims. It is simple to the SlutWalk organizers to believe victims should not be blamed for something done to them, but the Steubenville rape case provides shocking contrast.

The march went from Chipotle Grill, around the Prescott City Courthouse, and finally gathered by the front steps. People driving by honked their support for SlutWalk. They were greeted with cheers and sign-waving. Others watched the protesters from the second floor balcony on Whiskey Row and yelled their support, as well. The SlutWalk protesters were peaceful and the community responded the same. Still, officers from the Prescott Police Department were placed along the SlutWalk route just in case there was trouble.

Protesters shared their stories in the courthouse square of sexual assault, rape, and overcoming the trauma. Several people were moved to tears, but the emotions always returned to a feeling of solidarity. Several protesters thanked Huether and Matthews for organizing the SlutWalk. It helped them share their stories surrounded by people who also held their views on victim blaming.

At the end, there were hugs all around as the unified group split up to eat or go home. The protesters made new friends and contacts for community projects. Huether and Matthews were bolstered by the people, and the emotions that ran the SlutWalk.

Huether and Matthews view the first Prescott SlutWalk as an enthusiastic success. It was the first time they planned such an event. They used resources from the Women’s and Diversity Center at ERAU to organize and advertise. Facebook and posters helped spread the word to Yavapai College and Prescott College. It was a large event organized and driven by the students as a community involvement project.

“SlutWalk is an excellent idea to spread awareness about rape culture and victim blaming. Through awareness you can hopefully change society’s view on rape. Even if we only change one person’s mind, it’s worth it,” said Huether.

Leave a Reply