Hundreds of people joined together Sept. 30 to attend the March to End Rape Culture in Philadelphia. The march, which started at Thomas Paine Plaza, included speakers from prominent organizations like Take Back the Night, which advocate for an end to sexual assault and provide resources for survivors.
Various students from schools across Philadelphia attended the march, including many from Penn. These are some of the people who were there and what they had to say:
Some may remember the story of a woman who went to Toronto police after she was raped and was told by an officer that "women should avoid dressing like sluts." This incident sparked a movement and here in Philadelphia the March to End Rape Culture. Loraine Ballard Morrill spoke with one of the organizers Robin Strough about the event which takes place September 24, 2016 at the Thomas Paine Plaza, Philadelphia starting at 11:00.
"Whether it be something as seemingly benign as cat-calling or as extreme as a rapist receiving a lenient jail sentence because their accuser was intoxicated or the rapists’ privilege, rape culture is a persistent and serious problem in today’s society. On the front lines of the battle to expose and eliminate rape culture is Christie Eastburn, organizer of Philadelphia’s annual March To End Rape Culture."
On the cold and windy morning of October 3, I bundled up in two shirts and a jacket to march through downtown Philadelphia. But beside me, dozens walked naked as part of the 2015 March to End Rape Culture (MTERC), also known as “my body, my choice.”
Spearheaded by the Haverford Women*s Center, a group of about 20 Bryn Mawr and Haverford students went to Thomas Payne Plaza to take part in the MTERC rally. Formerly known as the “Slutwalk,” the march was, according to the official website, “rebranded as the March to End Rape Culture in an effort to be more inclusive and appeal to a wider audience.” Walkers were welcomed by local organizations such as “Philly Queer” and “Philadelphia Socialist.” ...
The March to End Rape Culture, formally known as the “Slut Walk”, is an event that has been occurring in cities all throughout the country for the last five years. For Philadelphia, thisyear’s march occurred on Oct. 3rd at 11 a.m. beginning at JFK Boulevard. It is the 3rd consecutive year that Philadelphia has participated in holding the event. Each year has had much larger turnouts than the previous, as well as more experienced speakers. The event attracted a widely diverse group of men and women and a wide range of guests, speakers and sponsorships. Many of the speakers had colorful voices all with unique perspectives on the event’s cause and future fights. Some told stories, others read poetry, and powerful speeches were given at the beginning and end of the march.
After the speakers were finished there were several dance and musical performances. One dance troop, “The —— Regime” featured group of talented young women who did routines to songs “featuring strong female leads” such as Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, and Rihanna. By adding musical guests and performers, the organizers really added a modern touch that had been missing among previous years.
Under gray skies at the 2015 March to End Rape Culture, Nellie Fitzpatrick relayed the story of Chrissy Lee Polis, a transgender woman who was beaten in 2011 after attempting to use a women’s bathroom.
“This happened to Chrissy because of how these people perceived her,” said Fitzpatrick, the city’s director of LGBT Affairs. “Because she wasn’t good enough to simply do what every single person here does every day: go to the bathroom.”
Three days after the march, Philadelphia witnessed the 18th murder of a transgender woman of color in America this year when 22-year-old Kiesha Jenkins was attackedin Logan. Police arrested a man in connection to the murder yesterday.
Supposedly, our culture is opposed to rape. We like to think that all good people are as offended by sexual assault as they are by, say, cannibalism. Yet, rape happens every day to people of all ages.
And the perpetrators aren’t all barbarous, dead-eyed monsters; they’re other humans, often close to those they abuse. Rapists can have loving families and respectable jobs; they are simply people who choose, for some reason, to disregard consent.
Pretending that rape only happens in specific communities or is a crime committed by certain types of people is a fairy tale that allows us to avoid looking at how our culture allows sexual assault to happen.
“Rape culture” is increasingly being used to talk about the ways we implicitly condone rape, make it easier for it to happen and harder to combat. It refers to the ways that we talk about sex, gender, relationships and power that inadvertently contribute to a climate where people are put at risk and disbelieved when they try to report. What are some examples?