Disclaimer: this is an article I wrote for Hercampus.com that was just recently published, I have reposted my own. All of the work is my own but you can see the original print HERE
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, this
year’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
The actual march itself attracted a lot of street and press attention, which is expected to
bring much-needed publicity for next year’s walk. Part of what makes this walk so special and
unique are the sarcastic and colorful signs that young women bring to the walk. The Slut Walk
embodies our modern wave of feminism, where girls have promoted the cause through humor,
honesty, and shock factor.
The most fulfilling part of participating in the march had to be listening to the amazing
speakers leading the event. Each speaker covered different aspects of rape culture and
provided some insight on what they believed we can do to work towards change. Dr. Timaree
Schmit discussed the harm that school dress codes can represent and how important it is to
volunteer at various women programs to benefit each other. Other topics discussed were
violence against transgender people, slut shaming, girl on girl hate, and consent. Each speaker
had some background or expertise in assisting women or the movement. Psychiatrists,
advocates, lobbyists, prosecutors, and organization leaders all helped aid in the sincerity of the
Many participating in the event or watching from the sidelines posted photos or videos
on various social media sites with the hashtag #mterc2015. With such a great turnout and lineup
of activities, the march is already expected to happen again next year. This event is free to
attend with no registration necessary.
As a college student in particular, I think it is important to educate yourself on the serious
problem of rape culture and sexual assault. According to WOAR.org, Most sexual assaults
happen to women during the ages 16-25 and 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted in their
lifetime (http://www.woar.org/counseling/sexual-assault-information.php). This issue affects all
women on a daily basis. We can all relate to the fear of walking down empty streets alone. This
event is a step towards shedding that fear for future generations and helping society to shift
their focus to the deep roots of the problem.
I encourage more people to attend next year because it is an experience that will have you feel
like you are playing an active role in helping the greater community of women. It is a fun,
exciting experience. At the very least, this event will leave you more aware, cautious, and
educated about the issues facing women today and how we can further prevent them.
If you would like learn more about the event or cause you can go to their Facebook page
(marchtoendrapeculture) or check out their Tumblr at marchtoendrapeculture.tumblr.com .