SlutWalk NYC Preparing to Take Over Union Square

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Occupy Wall Street is not the only protest in town. Starting around 11 a.m. today, SlutWalk NYC will be in Union Square Park to challenge sexual violence in New York City and abroad.

The event will tackle sexual violence in the city and high-profile cases involving NYPD officers and former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

If you're expecting to see every participant strolling the streets dressed in lingerie and stilettos, think again, organizers say.

"People think it's a bunch of people parading around in costumes, but it's activists and advocates, rape survivors, and allies -- a group of people getting together to raise awareness," said Alison Turkos, one of the many organizers.

SlutWalk NYC is part of a larger movement that started in Canada. On Jan. 24, a cop told a group of college students in Toronto that "Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not be victimized."

The cop's victim-blaming remark sparked the first SlutWalk rally in Toronto and has since spread worldwide to major U.S. cities and to places as far as London and Cape Town, South Africa. (The timing of SlutWalk NYC coincides with a piece in the Wall Street Journal that reports that NYPD officers have been telling women in areas affected by the Park Slope rapist to avoid wearing skirts and shorts because it's "easy access.")

According to SlutWalkToronto.com, more than 100 loosely affiliated events, often referred to as "satellites," have occurred or will occur worldwide this year.

To date, about 6,000 people have RSVP'ed to attend the New York event via Facebook. Organizers say women should dress however they want to assert that women should be able to wear whatever they want without being blamed for what happens to them.

Between Dominique Strauss-Kahn's alleged sexual assault of hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo and the acquittal of NYPD cops Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata on charges that they sexually assaulted a woman -- and the subsequent August sentencing of Moreno, who is to serve a year in prison for misdemeanor official conduct -- New York has had its fair share of major events that bring rape culture and victim blaming to public consciousness.

SlutWalk NYC organizers say their rally will challenge the outcome of both sexual assault cases, and that the group will march near the 9th Precinct -- the same precinct that officers Moreno and Mata represented.

Cameron Shahraray, another organizer, said the protest also brings awareness to increased sexual violence in the city. New York's Fiscal 2011 Mayor's Management Report, released earlier this month, highlighted a near 32 percent increase in reported forcible rape cases. In 2010 there were 860 reported forcible rape cases by the end of the 2010 fiscal period and in 2011 there were 1,138. The data goes through the end of June for each year. Recent assaults in Park Slope, for example, highlight such violence.

"Sexual violence is a human rights issue and I don't think the police or the FBI or any other law enforcement agency are doing enough to prevent it," Shahraray said. In a New York Daily News article, Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. of Astoria, said the increase was related to a smaller police force.

The SlutWalk marches have not been without criticism.

Several groups have voiced concerned about the use of the word "slut," including the Brooklyn-based Black Women's Blueprint, who said SlutWalk excludes women of African descent in an open letter dated Sept. 23.

Joanna Chiu, an coordinator for SlutWalk NYC, said participants and organizers have different perspectives on the use of the word, but she feels the event it is not about reclaiming the pejorative.

"It's looking at the word and how it reflects our culture," Chiu said. "It's a way to generate a discussion. It's really satirical. There really is no such thing as a 'slut.'"

Singer Connie Francis, who is a survivor of rape, took to Twitter earlier this year to say that she was dismayed by the walks and that the organizers of these events were "misguided."

Others have rallied behind the SlutWalk movement, including noted feminist and author Alice Walker and several nonprofit and feminist groups in New York, like the Third Wave Foundation and Sex Workers Outreach Project New York.

For people who are concerned about safety in light of the Occupy Wall Street debacles, organizers say they have safety procedures in place, including a number of trained volunteers who will act as marshals. Chui added that unlike Occupy Wall Street, SlutWalk NYC has been officially permitted by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and is only scheduled to last for a few hours.

The public event will start 11 a.m. when organizers will meet at the south end of Union Square Park, near Whole Foods Market, to make banners. Organizers are asking participants to bring their own materials. The march will start at the same place, eventually going as far south as 3rd Street. Later, a rally will begin, featuring writers, poets, activists, artists and bands from New York.

Organizers and participants will be live tweeting the event from their official Twitter handle, @SlutWalkNYC. The official hash tag will be #SWNYC. The event will take place rain or shine, Turkos said.

SlutWalk NYC wants to continue its activism efforts after Saturday's big event-- potentially under a new name. The group with deliberate its future title and goals during public meeting on October 13 at Walker Stage.

Visit the coalition's website at SlutWalkNYC.com.

[manderson@villagevoice.com]

Go to Runnin' Scared for more Voice news coverage.


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32 comments
janecollins
janecollins

my sisters friend makes $50 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her cheque was $6200 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read about it here CashHard.com

gary
gary

If your  thinking about rape think again.  Violence will come back to you in a very bad way.   Don't drop the soap~

DHS2020
DHS2020

2 protests against rape in NYC this weekend, #OccupyWallStreet & #SlutWalk

They should join forces.

Guest
Guest

Violence against women is at an all time high on college campuses across America. This is NOT stranger rape... I'm talking about acquaintance rape! STOP acquaintance rape! Just because you have a few beers doesn't mean you want sex. There are thousands of predators out there... waiting... They need to know what they do is WRONG and UNACCEPTABLE!!!!

Bobby Bayview
Bobby Bayview

I am so looking forward to Oct 5th. The generations of the middleclass, young and old, will come together for the first time and demand economic justice for all.

TRVolk
TRVolk

"People think it's a bunch of people parading around in costumes" - Pretty much says it all about how well the message is getting through.

bl1y
bl1y

I bet everyone going to the Slutwalk closed and locked their front door on the way out.

Jackson
Jackson

If I was a rapist I would definitely rape the women trying to look sexy.  You know, because I like sexy women.  1+1=2

Gary
Gary

If your  thinking about rape think again.  Violence will come back to you in a very bad way.   Don't drop the soap~    Rape is a non-consentual  crime for predators .  They should be castrated and put in prison for life rooming with Bubba to let them know the feeling of helplessness and pain.

Sakara
Sakara

all the sluts took a hike over to the occupy wall street protest.

check some of the videos---lots of dudes with guitars at the occupy wall street protests; sluts dig dudes who play guitar.

lt
lt

because robbery and rape ARE THE SAME. idiot.

gary
gary

If your  thinking about rape think again.  Violence will come back to you in a very bad way.   Don't drop the soap~

Sammylif
Sammylif

Maybe then you'd go to jail! (Just kidding, we all know that 15 out of 16 rapists will never see jail time. But a girl can dream!)

bl1y
bl1y

Because protecting yourself from any crime is prudent, and advising someone to protect themselves is not the same as saying they're to blame for what happens to them.

guest
guest

All he's saying is it's easier to rape a girl in a skirt. Which makes sense when you think about it. Please stop trying to villianize this guy for using common sense. Yes rape is a screwed up thing. Yes victim shaming happens. But saying that wearing a skirt will make it easy for a rapist to rape isn't a lie.

guest
guest

The reason they're reffered to as 'alleged' is because one person accusing another of a crime doesn't make them guilty. There needs to a be a trial in which it is proven. What if the guy never raped her but got called it anyways? Kind of ruins his life.

guest
guest

well being a sex worker is illegal anyways so there's just issues with that argument all over.

bl1y
bl1y

I'd like to see these alleged police reports.

Police reports that I've read don't use the word victim at all (since that's making a judgment about what happened that should be reserved for the courts). Instead, they call people by their names.

Briway101
Briway101

Why is it sexual assault police reports refer to the complaintant as the "alleged victim"  Alleged... like being victimized wasn't enough, now add fear of speaking up because you won't be believed, and a system thats not designed to support victims but rather question their credibilty. 

No person with an ounce of empathy will come out and say "its your fault you were raped"  but that doesn't mean that there aren't societial misconceptions thats further marginalize victims.

There is no prevention of victimization.. only perpetration.

Victoria
Victoria

If you had ever studied the phenomena associated with sexual assault and related crimes you would know that victim blaming/shaming is one of the basic factors in the perpetuation of abuse the world over.  In our system the menacing scrutiny with which a rape victim is treated is often used as an intimidation factor to discourage their own defense and limit the power of prosecution to punish rapists.  Confronted with a rape that doesn't seem to make sense, so many American male egos will offer back what is ingrained in their macho personae: "She was asking for it."  Stop excusing the behavior of filthy pig cops by this nonsensical argument to discourage rightful protest and debate.

Gary
Gary

If your  thinking about rape think again.  Violence will come back to you in a very bad way.   Don't drop the soap~   Not  true ,   most defense attorneys when women are raped blame the victim using the excuse that she was asking for sex because of the way she is dressed.  Many  women are scared to go to court because they feel the truth not a myth  that most predators are freed from the charges blaming the women as sluts and that is was consentual .  They way they are dressed , short skirts , high heels.,  walking down the road .  Women are profiled by rapists, police, churches, judges,  Even when they go to the emergency room for help many hospitasl dump them back on the streets .   A victim was recently dumped back on the streets of Orlando, Florida by a hospital .  The latest victim was a woman dressed scantily , left with two broken arms, a battered face , broken nose  ,  ,busted lips , broken teeth .  Unable to even feed her self , not even offered a womans shelter for the night.  A cab was called by the hospital and the woman walked  was dumped on Int't drive in Orlando, Fl. for the next few days , homeless .

NaijaKitsch
NaijaKitsch

Could be...it could also be that since it's been really muggy in NY until this week, women are more likely to be wearing skirts and shorts than, say, jeans. I'm just not convinced that "they all wear skirts (an extremely generic and popular clothing item for women during this season)" is much of an M.O. You might as well say the attacker has been targeting women.

I guess I just have a hard time taking this sort of "advice" seriously because with most rapes, it has nothing to do with clothing and mostly to do with circumstances, timing, and power. Usually when folks bring up the clothing issue, it's to imply that women aren't doing enough to prevent rape in this respect, which is b.s.

NaijaKitsch
NaijaKitsch

In theory, yes, but not always in practice (a good example being sex workers who are victims of sexual assault).

bl1y
bl1y

The fact that you can be raped while wearing anything doesn't mean that wearing some things won't increase your risk. In the case of the Park Slope rapes, all 10 victims were wearing skirts. Could be coincidence, but it could also be that he's targeting women in skirts.

NaijaKitsch
NaijaKitsch

Yes, victim blaming is just a myth.  All the survivors of rape and sexual assault who have been subject to victim blaming...it was just all in their head, am I right?

Go eff yourself.

NaijaKitsch
NaijaKitsch

Except that, contrary to your opinion, what I wear has little to no bearing on my chances of being raped. Women all over the world are raped while wearing sexy clothing, pajamas, sweatpants, business attire, burkas, short skirts, etc.

bl1y
bl1y

Rape isn't a concrete idea? I...just...what?

The issue I brought up is only that there aren't large numbers of people going around blaming victims. Rape is real, victim blaming is a myth. You may be able to find one or two people who victim blame (and if you find two, one is just an internet troll who deep down doesn't believe it ...the other is the rapist), but it's simply not a wide spread belief.

The myth of victim blaming exists because while there is rational, intelligent feminism, with many good points to make, along side it exists a cult of feminism where zealotry is prized above reason. This exists with any ideology, from politics, to religion, to even sports fanatics (there are people who are rational fans of a team, and then others who believe that every penalty called against their team is due to refs being paid off).

I know people who are true misogynists, and even from them I've never heard an argument in earnest that the victim is to blame. The whole idea is absurd, and you'll have a hard time finding anyone who espouses it.

A.O
A.O

Robbery and rape might be a tad different. I close and lock my doors to keep possessions. Possessions are concrete ideas and stealing them is easily seen. When I wear clothes the protection is not from rape. Rape isn't a concrete idea and unless you witness it, how much physical evidence is there?

 I wear clothes because I hear they protect me from weather mostly. Oh yeah, I suppose wearing clothes is a social norm in most of the world too. Wearing more or less clothes doesn't make a difference to a potential rapist. Rape is about overpowering. I read a sociological study and most men don't even have orgasms when they rape. It's a dominance thing. Psychologically, most men view it as an opportunity for revenge no matter who the victim may be. My point to you is: stop nurturing misogynistic dirt bags. Those men need serious help and your contempt for women seems to be reflective on your behavior towards women. Mommy issues much? I would advise you to work on that. :)

bl1y
bl1y

I'm guessing you haven't, since you'd know that your sexual history is generally inadmissible under rape shield laws.

lt
lt

a myth? 

have you been through a rape trial? do you know what its like to have your fashion choices or your sexual history, which is TOTALLY relevant by the way, be used against you. i guess the myth is so powerful that it keeps most victims from even reporting rape.

whatever. it's not my responsibility to convince you of anything. 

bl1y
bl1y

The number of people who blame the victims is miniscule. Victim blaming is largely a myth.

For instance, the Feminist Law Prof's blog was quick to denounce the NYC cops who cautioned women about skirts, and said they were victim blaming. The cops probably should have used a little more tact, but warning people about a criminal's MO isn't victim blaming. If the people being attacked were nurses, would it be wrong to suggest they not wear their scrubs when coming home after a late shift?

Groups have organized to walk women home from the subway, but they're not accused of victim blaming. What's so different about saying "walking home alone is unsafe" and "walking home along in a skirt is unsafe?"

lt
lt

thing is, that kind of mentality makes it so that women do get blamed for being raped. the idea that women are responsible for not provoking rape makes as much sense as telling men they should stay home in case they won't be able to help themselves. 

any blame placed on the victim is blame being taking away from the rapist.  

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