A March to End Rape Culture
Slut Walk Philadelphia has renamed the controversial walk “A March to End Rape Culture.” Please read their statement below. The march is 9/28/13.
An Open Letter on the Subject of the Word “Slut” and the Name of this Year’s March:
In 2011, at SlutWalk NYC, a white woman in attendance brought a sign on which was written a John Lennon and Yoko Ono song lyric: “Woman is the n**ger of the world.” As you might imagine, this deeply offended many people. The woman who held the sign was asked to take it down, and the national and international SlutWalkcommunities began a serious discussion on the role that race plays in SlutWalks. Black Women’s Blueprint published an open letter declaring that they, as black women, cannot identify with the word “slut” and many came forward in the African American community and in other communities to express the same or similar sentiments.
For some communities, the word “slut” is a term they have not been called and cannot relate to in order to reclaim it in any capacity. Systems of oppression have colonized, commodified, or otherwise rewritten their sexualities for centuries, making acts of sexual violence against them a permissible and far too often, expected, occurrence. These are the people who are perhaps the most affected by the victim blaming SlutWalk stands against, regardless of any “slutty” dress or behavior, they are considered by some to be “asking for it” simply by being who they are.
We have decided to put the word “slut” in the background of the title of the march this year out of a desire to include all those who experience rape culture and want to fight it with us and to bring together as many communities and organizations in Philly and the surrounding areas as possible. We are calling this year’s march simply “A March to End Rape Culture,” as the concept of “rape culture” has been one that has been identified in many forums and communities to describe the cultural forces which conspire to make it so that sexual violence occurs so often, and with so few of the perpetrators being held accountable for their actions.
We have held on to the original title of the walk out of solidarity with other walks around the world, and because we needed a workable alternative for a title that people could relate to and understand. Now that we have that, we hope that those who have been hesitant to participate in previous years will reconsider joining us in expressing to the world what has always been the core message of SlutWalks everywhere: there is no excuse for sexual violence. We pledge to continue to work make all of the events we organize or participate in as inclusive and safe as possible, so that we may fight for the rights and of all communities with equal strength.
As with previous marches identified as SlutWalk, the March to End Rape Culture invites all who would like to attend, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, nationality, political affiliation, etc. Attendees are invited to dress however they feel comfortable – whether that be as little clothing as possible (it is legal to bare breasts in Philly as long as the nipples are covered) or covered from head to toe. Signs are welcome, as long as they do not contain hate speech or otherwise make the march less of a safe space. The march will start at Love Park and end in Thomas Paine Plaza, and the route in its entirety is wheelchair accessible. Those who do not wish to travel the whole route can join up with us at any point in its path. We will aim to start marching at 11, and once we arrive back at Love Park there will be a few speakers from local organizations talking about the work they do in Philly and its importance. These same organizations will have tables nearby where they can give out information and answer questions. Any local groups who would like to table, speak, or co-host the walk should use the contact information below.
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/423367027784275/
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