Fourth of July festivities abound in Colorado this weekend, and many legislators will practice their retail politicking at parades, marches, firework displays and other photo opportunities. One event will probably not be on Congressman Cory Gardner's itinerary, however: "Slutwalk 2011".
Thousands of women and men in Colorado will come together Saturday, July 2nd, 2011 to take back the streets of Denver and send two simple messages: rape is a violent crime not a sexual act, and women never ask to be raped, no matter how they dress. Women do not invite rape by wearing scanty clothing anymore than wealthy men invite being robbed by wearing a good suit. Rape is a violent crime, and the perpetrators are solely responsible for their actions. "Slutwalks" are being organized internationally, on various weekends throughout the summer, to bring these messages to every major city.
Gardner's comments about rape and abortion have gotten him into hot water with Coloradans over and over again. Recently, Gardner and other Republican lawmakers including Mike Coffman and Doug Lamborn, banded together to sponsor and support HR 3, a bill which seeks to redefine rape, in reference to the exclusion in the abortion funding ban for victims of rape and incest. (Apparently, the Republican party does not own a dictionary -- rape, by definition, is a sexual attack using force.)
Colorado is not the only state with legislators who "don't seem to get it". Florida Republican State Representative Kathleen Passidomo blamed the gang rape by 18 adult men of an eleven year old girl on the victim. Passidomo was quoted by David Edwards of Raw Story:
"There was an article about an 11 year old girl who was gangraped in Texas by 18 young men because she was dressed like a 21-year-old prostitute," Passidomo declared.The idea for Slutwalk Denver came from the original Slutwalk in Toronto, when a member of the Toronto Police told a group of students, "Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized". The five outraged Toronto women took action, and the annual "Slutwalks" to end victim-blaming and the rape-culture, were born.
"And her parents let her attend school like that. And I think it's incumbent upon us to create some areas where students can be safe in school and show up in proper attire so what happened in Texas doesn't happen to our students," she added.
From the Slutwalk 2011 facebook page:
The clothing a person is wearing is not an invitation to be sexually assaulted. It doesn't matter what someone is wearing, where they are walking, or how much they've had to drink - the only person at fault is the assaulter. We are reclaiming the word "slut" in solidarity with people who have been blamed unfairly for being assaulted.For those who wish to attend, simply show up. Women, men and children who believe, as I do, that blaming the victim will no longer be tolerated in the State of Colorado, are encouraged to attend and bring everyone they know for a beautiful and safe summer walk in the park.
We are asking you to join us for SlutWalk, to make a unified statement about sexual assault and victims’ rights and to demand respect for all. You needn't claim the word "slut" for yourself; whether a fellow slut or simply an ally, you don’t have to wear your sexual proclivities on your sleeve, we just ask that you come. Any gender-identification, any age. Singles, couples, parents, sisters, brothers, children, friends. Come walk or roll or strut or holler or stomp with us.
SlutWalk Denver will be held at the Greek Theater in Civic Center Park (south east corner). The physical address is 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204. Metered parking is available on the street for up to two hours. Organizers suggest finding local lots and paying to park there. Nearby lots can be found at: 1256 Delaware, 1440 Tremont, 1200-1300 Cherokee, and 1200-1300 Bannock. Participants are encouraged to remember sunscreen and water. Four "min-marches" will occur.
The schedule for Saturday is as follows:
12:00pm: Event starts, opening speeches
12:35 (at the latest): Mini marches 1 and 2 leave
1:10: Keynote speaker Pamela White
1:45: Mini marches 3 and 4 depart
2:30: Closing speech and ending
For more information on Stutwalks 2011, please visit http://www.slutwalktoronto.com/
or on Twitter and Tumblr!