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The College Democrats at UCF and other progressive on-campus organizations held the annual Slut Walk on Wednesday. Video by Daniela Marin

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A bystander yelled “you’re disgusting” to a group of UCF students as they marched on campus on Wednesday in protest of rape culture; but that did not stop them from moving forward with their chant - “no means no, yes means yes!”

It is exactly that kind of mentality that the protesters were attempting to combat as they marched forward in the annual SlutWalk event held by College Democrats at UCF.

“This event is to go against victim blaming and sexual assault, and to show that it doesn’t matter what a person is wearing,” said Nikki Mariutto, the organization’s president. “Safety shouldn’t depend on appearance.”

The UCF march is modeled after a global movement of marches and protests that began after a police department in Canada told women that they should stop dressing like sluts if they want to stop being sexually assaulted.

UCF’s Victim Services and the National Organization for Women at UCF co-hosted the event.

“We really need to start teaching people how not to rape, instead of teaching people how not to be raped," said Kayla Infantino, secretary of NOW at UCF and one of the event’s several speakers. “I support SlutWalk because I think it’s time that we realize that no matter what someone is wearing or what they look like, it’s never the victim’s fault.”

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Among the speakers was UCF political sciences student Ashley Joyce-Nyack, who spoke about her experience being sexually assaulted and how her attacker told police that “she was asking for it.”

“Women own their bodies. No one else should decide what we wear and the idea that some extra fabric will keep us safe is absurd,” Joyce-Nyack told the crowd.

Linda Steward, who is currently running for the Florida Senate, also made an appearance at the event and told the crowd that the discussion to end rape culture has to start at college campuses.

“Women have been targeted for decades, and I’m tired of it,” she said. “We don’t need our state legislators or elected officials telling us what we need to do with our bodies.”

Also present in the crowd was a UCF student who attempted to cause a disruption by yelling that the event was unfairly targeting white males.

Although his remarks did not interrupt the event, Stewart offered her commentary on his remarks at the conclusion of the march.

“We’re not targeting white males,” she said. “We’re targeting anyone who unfairly targets women.”

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Daniela Marin is a digital producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @dan__marin or email her at DanielaM@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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