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."
We are pleased to announce the date for the second annual TREAT Y'RSELF FEST (a benefit for the annual March to End Rape Culture, co-presented with Pussy Division). Treat Y'rself Fest (Saturday, August 20th, 2016) is all about self-care and having a great day out in a safe, inclusive, all-ages and accessible space for all.
At this year's Democratic National Convention (DNC), Pennsylvania activist Sharron Cooks was one of 28 openly transgender delegates and two trans women-of-color delegates. She's also a former sex worker. Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, it's this last bit that The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jenice Armstrong chose to focus on.
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.
As Anna Frangiosa patiently sits, bundled on the brisk October morning, gripping tightly to her homemade signs, she knows the two-mile march is worth it.
Burlesque performer and resident of North Philadelphia, 39-year-old Frangiosa has always advocated against sexual violence and the victimization of women in American culture. Helping raise awareness of rape against women, the March to End Rape Culture is the first united event she ever attended in the city to stop “victim blaming.”
“I think there’s still a lot of people who think this is a joke and obviously it’s not. It’s important that people be visible about this as a way of encouraging gender equality and ending rape.” Frangiosa goes on to explain how the media subjugates women, who eventually become only pawns in a man’s chess game.
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?
Just this past Saturday, Thomas Paine Plaza was flooded with over 1,000 feminist activists and supporters for Philly’s March to End Rape Culture. Many walked around topless, some wore tight-fitting, short dresses which are the garments that rape is often blamed on, and others wore the clothes that they were wearing when they were sexually assaulted. What did I wear this weekend amongst the sea of half-naked, beautiful, powerful activists? You guessed it! A Thor costume.
It’s strange to think that cosplaying Thor is a multifaceted and complex decision or functions as anything more significant than simply demonstrating an admiration for a fictional character. Thor is the god of thunder, child of Oden, heir to the throne of Asgard, and owner of a powerful hammer called Mjolnir that can both create force fields and destroy anything in its path. It’s simple — Thor is kickass, who wouldn’t want to dress up as this demigod? But being Thor this past weekend was as symbolic and as substantial for me as the march itself.
Affirmative consent not only removes any doubt about whether a situation was mutual, it makes for better sex, too.
A bold idea is gaining traction on America’s college campuses: Sex is a collaborative communication, not just a green light to use someone’s body as an orgasm-procurement device. Students are being taught to practice affirmative consent, moving beyond the old “no means no” to the more cooperative “yes means yes.” Instead of putting the onus on an individual to fend off unwanted sexual activity, the responsibility to prevent rape is on everybody—each participant needs to get (and give) clear, enthusiastic indications of being on board.
All affirmative consent means is that everyone agrees to what is happening. You have to be old enough/able to understand the situation, and you have to be free from pressure—that is, just as easily free to say “no” as “yes.” At any time, consent can be revoked. Making sure your partner is game is an ongoing process, and please note: It’s something that happens naturally if you’re actually any good at sex.
A good lover bases their movements and pacing upon reading how their partner is responding. I don’t just round the next base because I want to, that is, but because wewant to. For those whodon’t pay attention to the other person’s pleasure, on the other hand, getting affirmative consent is indeed an extra step. So understand: Some body part getting hard or wet isn’t the same as giving consent. Those are things bodies do, usually outside conscious control. That’s why it’s a good idea to include verbal communication, too. Some worry about sounding too businesslike and killing the vibe, but there’s no rule that says you can’t make the question sound romantic—or completely filthy dirty.
The March to End Rape Culture is an annual march through center city raising awareness about rape culture and how it affects everyone in society today. This event will be a monumental occasion for Philadelphian’s to learn about the widespread issues related to rape culture and what can be done to put an end to it. It is also a supportive and empowering place for survivors of rape and abuse to speak out and discover local resources that are ready and willing to help everyone overcome the obstacles that society has placed in front of them. Lastly, the march is the perfect opportunity for allies to join with survivors in taking a stand against rape culture and say ENOUGH!
“Sluts are like unicorns: They are both imaginary concepts.”
“My clothes are not my consent.”
“Only yes means yes.”
The participants of Saturday’s March to End Rape Culture carried signs speaking out against sexual violence and objectification. More than 500 Philadelphians, 50 Penn students among them, gathered at Love Park to protest rape culture. The Philadelphia march, formerly known as the SlutWalk, started in Toronto in 2011 as a response to police comment that women should avoid dressing like “sluts” to avoid unwanted sexual attention. It has since spread to cities around the U.S. and the world.
As I enter the Thomas Paine Plaza at City Hall, I immediately see a swarm of people. According to CBS, about 1,000 people showed up to TheMarch to End Rape Cultureprotest, formerly known as the Slutwalk, on September 27th.
I’d heard of TheMarch to End Rape Culture before, but this was the first time I attended one of their events. It was an event I’ll never forget. Despite the seriousness of the protest, the atmosphere was so welcoming; everyone was happy to share a common goal to stop victim blaming and raise awareness of rape culture in our society. For those that do not know, rape culture is defined as when rape and other acts of sexual violence is considered the norm in a society.
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A week after the Obama administration launches a new effort to combat sexual assault on college campuses, Philadelphia organizers are gearing up for the annual March Against Rape Culture.
Participants say attention to the issue is long overdue and organizer Christie Eastburn agrees:
“We’ve been aware of this problem for a long time and it’s just now getting media attention.”
Originally called “The Slut Walk,” it began four years ago after police at a Toronto university told coeds to “stop dressing like sluts” to avoid rape.
“Those words really ignited fire in a lot of people,” says Eastburn.
This year’s March to End Rape Culture (formerly known as SlutWalk Philadelphia) on September 27 will be the most collaborative march in the event’s history. The march this year has the most co-sponsors, speakers, and volunteers than any other year, according to lead organizer Christie Eastburn.
“The Philadelphia SlutWalk chapter rebranded as the ‘March to End Rape Culture’ last year in an effort to be more inclusive and to diversify its participants, sponsorship, and volunteers,” said Eastburn in an email.
“In addition to being a less polarizing name for the event, the rebranding of the SlutWalk into The March to End Rape Culture also helps in broadening the scope of issues that are addressed in relation to rape culture beyond just focusing on victim blaming and slut shaming.”
Yesterday afternoon, residents, workers and tourists alike stood witness to a barrage of at least 600 people, some in just bras and stocking, passionately marching through the street of Center City in the March to End Rape Culture.
Dianne Graeser, a 28-year-old mother-to-be, said she drove two and a half hours with her sister and daughter to participate in the march.
“We make this our yearly trip to Philadelphia and you know, it’s just really something I believe in,” she said, donning a sparkly, purple bra. “Some of the bystanders watching us hoothaw and catcall at us and it’s totally inappropriate.”