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Wendy Reuer, Published April 26 2013

MSUM students march against victim blaming at ‘SlutWalk’

MOORHEAD – Katie Bullock said she was raped last year, but she didn’t report it because she was drinking at the time.

Friday, Bullock said she didn’t want to answer the questions she knew she would get if she told anyone: “Why were you drunk?” “Why were you with that guy?”

Whether it’s drinking or dressing provocatively, Bullock said no one should point to those reasons as an excuse for rape.

Bullock told her story to a gaggle of media and more than two-dozen students and staff on Friday at Minnesota State University Moorhead as part of the first-ever MSUM Stop Rape SlutWalk.

The march was organized by students such as Bullock and Lisa Rector as part of a women’s and gender studies class. The event is modeled after others that have occurred worldwide after the first SlutWalk in Toronto on April 3, 2011.

At that first walk, more than 3,000 gathered to rally against blaming sex assault victims after Constable Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto police officer, said “women should avoid dressing like sluts” to remain safe. Sanguinetti later apologized for the remark.

More than two dozen marched through the campus square and residential areas Friday. Many dressed in provocative or revealing clothing and held signs reading, “Look with your eyes, not your hands,” “It’s not don’t get raped. It’s don’t rape.”

SlutWalk participants were encouraged to wear suggestive clothing as a way to rail against the notion that rape victims can be accused of provoking the attack by the way they dress.

“(Women) are kind of blamed for being that slut, that whore … whatever, when they’re taken advantage of in the first place,” student Holland Wilcox said. “It’s really kind of screwed up.”

Rector said she is pleased with the turnout, and hopes it will only grow in the future.

“It’s good, we’re getting the message out,” said North Dakota State School of Science student Alia Carlson.

Rector said another SlutWalk is not immediately planned, but she hopes another communitywide event can be organized soon.

The first SlutWalk in the Twin Cities was just six months after the first Toronto event. Another is set for Oct. 5 in Minneapolis.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530