What Happened to Philly’s SlutWalk?

Philly's much-anticipated SlutWalk, originally scheduled for this weekend, has been postponed. Does the support still communicate the message?

Back in April, when a woman from Philly decided to follow in Toronto’s footsteps and organize a SlutWalk—basically a demonstration against “slut-shaming” and the blame game associated with rape—the plans garnered lots of attention and more than 1,400 supporters on Facebook.

But now, a few days before the demonstration was scheduled to be held, the SlutWalk Philadelphia Facebook page says the event has been postponed—indefinitely, apparently.

I spoke with organizer Brittany Durphy back in April, and she was excited about the amount of attention the planned demonstration gained in Philly and working on obtaining all the necessary permits to hold the event. But now, though SlutWalk supporters appear to be meeting regularly in Philly, it appears that organizers have no date for when it will actually take place.

This all got me thinking: If SlutWalk Philadelphia doesn’t actually occur as planned, will this city’s supporters, by getting their message out in announcing the event, really make the impact they wanted to? Does strength in numbers transcend physical meetings and work as well via social networking? What does it mean that, after much ado and buzz, the demonstration hasn’t actually come to fruition? Judging by the posts on SlutWalk’s Facebook page and the media coverage, it’s easy to tell that it’s an issue people feel strongly about … but part of me wonders if it will actually happen now and, further, what it says about our society when a demonstration like this can’t quite get off the ground. I chatted via e-mail with Durphy, who said the new date for the event can’t be released until the city gives an okay.

“It’s been a long, rocky road, and it’s certainly been difficult, but I think things are finally starting to take a turn for the better,” she wrote.

As a woman in Philadelphia who admired Durphy for promoting the SlutWalk cause and taking a stand, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed for her—and for other supporters—that, for whatever reason, the demonstration seems to have lost a bit of its footing. I can only hope that Durphy, who so valiantly stood up for what she believed in, is still pushing to take a stand against rape’s blame game.