Philly’s SlutWalk: Rallying Against Rape’s Blame Game

In Toronto's footsteps, Philly supporters are making big plans to demonstrate against victim blaming

When you first hear about SlutWalk Philadelphia, it stops you in your tracks.

Well, it stopped me in mine, anyway. What’s a SlutWalk and why would they call it that?

But after reading about where SlutWalk, which is gaining momentum in other cities, like Boston, originated and talking to 20-year-old Brittany Durphy, the Philly PAWS kennel attendant who started to spread the word in Philly via Facebook, I’m all for the cause.

SlutWalk originated in Toronto when a police officer made the absurd statement that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

SlutWalk Toronto happened on Saturday, April 3—3,000 to 4,000 people gathered to rally, hear speeches and march on Toronto Police Headquarters. Their message? “We’ve had enough.”

Despite its jarring name, after you hear the backstory, SlutWalk makes sense. Even though, with all the we aren’t going to take this anymores and all the support in the world, we may never be able to change the fact that some people will always try to blame rape on the victims, it’s inspiring to see the support this cause is gaining. Rape is bad enough; its victims deserve to feel that someone—and really, judging by the SlutWalk turnout, a lot of people—are in their corner. Supporters may not all understand or feel their pain, but rallies for the cause like SlutWalk (yes, I’m still getting stuck on the name, too) demonstrate uncommon and touching solidarity.

“This is a pretty common thing, unfortunately,” says Durphy, whose Facebook event for Philly’s SlutWalk has nearly 400 attending and 200 maybe-attending RSVPs (with another more than 1,500 awaiting replies). “For me it started when I was 13, that I was getting catcalled and things, and it got the point where I started to be afraid to walk down the street.”

We’ve all been there and heard that: the catcall that brazenly crosses the line between “harmless creep” and “potentially dangerous.” It may be subjective, but I think many women you ask about it could tell you that there is a definite difference.

Durphy says she never expected the influx of support that SlutWalk Philly has garnered and is hoping to hold it in June at the Art Museum, but she’s taking all the right steps—and still waiting for the police department to issue her a permit for the gathering.

“It’s crazy that so many people are so passionate about rape awareness and victim blaming,” she says. “I thought the whole thing in Toronto was amazing, that this police officer was able to just get away with writing an apology, that was ridiculous. And women and men were just like, ‘No, that’s not enough.’”

And they’re right. It’s not enough.

Join the Facebook event here. (Note: You must be signed in to view the event.)