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      WIU students challenge use of the word 'slut'

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      Students challenged the use of the word "slut" Thursday night in the first of two campus awareness events.

      In a news release, Craig Tollini, associate professor in Western's sociology and anthropology department, noted that the word "slut" has often been used to shame women who engage in sexual behavior and who use contraception or other forms of family planning.

      A panel discussion titled "Slut Talk: Blaming, Shaming, and Challenging" began at 7 p.m. in the University Union Heritage Room. Panelists discussed the topic from their own perspectives.

      "What we really hope is that they [students] learn what negative connotations the word can have and hope that they can actually learn something opposed to just going to an event and not taking anything away from it," Bryan Miller, a SluTalk panelist said.

      The second event is an awareness march "SlutWalk: Stop the Blaming, Stop the Shaming, Start Challenging." It will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 at the Union Plaza flagpole which is located on the north side of the University Union. Tollini said in the news release that after a brief speech at the flagpole, the "SlutWalk" will proceed to the gazebo in Chandler Park in Macomb.

      "This term has also been used to blame the victims of sexual harassment and assault. A recent example occurred when Rush Limbaugh referred to Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke as a 'slut' after she testified before Democratic representatives to argue that religiously affiliated universities should cover contraception in their health care plans," Tollini said.

      For more information, contact Welch at BK-Welch@wiu.edu.