Slutwalk Portland confronts rape culture

March and rally, sponsored by vegan strip club Casa Diablo, held in downtown Portland

Men and women participate in the 2014 Portland Slutwalk September 14, 2014. (KOIN 6)
Men and women participate in the 2014 Portland Slutwalk September 14, 2014. (KOIN 6)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) —  “We could call it the body autonomy walk, but that wouldn’t have the same ring,” says Slutwalk Portland organizer Elle Stanger.

The march and rally, which confronts sexual and domestic violence by raising awareness about societal issues like rape culture and victim shaming was attended by hundreds of men and women in downtown Portland Sunday.

“The part some people get confused on is it’s not about being sexually promiscuous, it’s about being whatever you want,” said Stanger.

A participant in the 2014 Portland Slutwalk. (KOIN 6)
A participant in the 2014 Portland Slutwalk. (KOIN 6)

“We are sick of the culture we live in which really perpetuates not only domestic violence, rape, but something as simple as cat calls,” said Stanger.

The 2014 Slutwalk was sponsored by several local businesses, including vegan strip club Casa Diablo, and Exotic Magazine and the Lucky Devil Lounge.

“We think it’s ridiculous we have to stage such a march but here we are,” she said.  “It’s a re-appropriation of the word and the ability to claim yourself as your own.”

What is ‘rape culture?’

Activists say rape culture happens when rape and sexual violence are normalized by society’s attitudes about gender and sexuality.

Fallout from rape culture can range from cat-calling to justifying sexual violence, activists say.

Victim blaming, when the victim of a crime, or violence, is blamed for happened to them, is another issue Slutwalks around the world attempt to bring awareness to.

The Slutwalk movement began in April 2011, in Toronto, Canada, after a Toronto Police officer said women could avoid unwanted sexual attention if they were to “avoid dressing like sluts.”

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