By Olivia Boyd
Amber Peralta mumbled under her breath in an empty Swan classroom as she remembered being slut-shamed earlier that day for wearing a mid-thigh romper on an 80-degree day.
“I felt bad about myself for the first time in a long time, it made me feel disgusting with myself and it made me not want to wear what I was wearing anymore,” said sophomore Peralta who had been commented on by a group of passing girls on campus. “I’m just mad that girls would do that because we are supposed to be supporting each other and lifting each other up for expressing ourselves, but instead we tear each other down.”
A look of realization came to Angelina Giglio’s face as she recalled comments she had received from community members for the way she dressed on stage.
“We’ll get emails from the community, which I think is a little sketchy that they don’t pay attention to anything we said or did, but they want to comment on how short my dress was which is uncomfortable for one and two completely uncalled for because we all dress pretty modestly,” said Giglio, a junior music major, with a visibly uncomfortable look on her face.
Both Peralta and Giglio experienced a form of slut-shaming, which can be the act of commenting negatively on or assuming the person is wearing the clothing for a sexual purpose.
“I would define slut shaming as criticizing girls for the actions they have done sexually or what people they think they have done, the way they dress, or their behavior,” said sophomore Grace Seeley.
The belief of many students and faculty is slut shaming and sexual harassment are actions done predominately towards females and if assaulted, it is done by men.
“People tend to use sexual promiscuity as a reason or excuse for a man’s behavior,” said Nichole Gonzalez, deputy title IX coordinator for Student Affairs. “They will also use how a woman is dressed, or the fact that she was intoxicated, or in a room alone with a man, as excuses for the man’s behavior, because ‘what did she expect was going to happen?’”
While women are the primary target for physical appearance, there are still men who are also shamed, while not for their clothing but for their actions.
“I have been slut shamed because I’m comfortable with my body, but it isn’t as hard for me as it is for a woman because it remains a title in the eyes of many once she’s labeled a slut,” said sophomore Dajour Fisher who also added that slut-shaming is something both genders must overcome. Fisher has been shamed by both genders for his actions.
Several students believed that slut-shaming occurred because a person feels threatened and decided to lash out because they see something different.
“I think it might happen because people feel threatened and they see someone and say, ‘Oh I wish I could be like that’ and then they put them down,” said junior Taylor Robinson. “It’s not right, no one should be ashamed of how they dress or look and people putting them down is terrible.”
While many students at St. Bonaventure, primarily being female, have been slut shamed.  Most and if not, all were uncomfortable in disclosing any details on why or how they have been if it was for anything besides clothing.
“I didn’t really do anything, obviously I was angry about it, obviously I was kind of frustrated and it makes you rethink your actions and who you talk to because you don’t think of yourself as that person,” said sophomore Kyra Burgess, who didn’t say why she was shamed, but explained her reaction.
The ultimate reaction to being shamed is the feeling of anger or being uncomfortable. To have something criticized about you that is personal makes many people upset.
“I cannot even begin to imagine why some people do the things that they do,” said Kathryn O’Brien, vice president of Student Affairs in her office in the Reilly Center. “What I can tell you is that we have a no tolerance policy for when it does occur when addressing it and what motivates someone to do it I can’t even speculate.”
St. Bonaventure has recently received a grant for $300,000 to combat sexual harassment and title IX claims on campus.
Slut-shaming occurs on all college campuses whether the school does anything to prevent it, whether it stops is up to the students.