This Sunday at noon, Orange County will host its first SlutWalk at the Yost Theater in SanTana. The event will feature guest speakers opening discussion about relevant issues such as sexual violence and abuse within communities, followed by a march downtown.
SlutWalk is a worldwide protest movement that has gained momentum in recent years for its active criticism of rape culture, victim blaming, and slut-shaming through protests and dialogue. It aims to not only raise awareness of these topics and their tragic consequences, but to reclaim the word 'slut' with a positive connotation, to embolden women as agents of their own physical appearance in the public sphere, without worry of appearing too promiscuous, thus subject to assault.
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The first SlutWalk took place in Toronto, Canada in 2011 in response to a police officer's publicized comment to university students that in order to not be victimized sexually, women should avoid dressing like "sluts." That Toronto police officer's comment sparked a global uproar over the deep-set nature of rape culture in modern times. Since then, numerous SlutWalks have popped up around the world, but have slowed down due to the controversy over usage of the word "slut," and protestors rallying in scant garments as "sluts." Still, the movement remains relevant to discussion about rape culture in society today and offers the community an opportunity to vocally express their experiences and outrage in a public forum (respectfully, of course).
The event coming to Orange County is a no-brainer, as it's had a lion's share of sexual assault cases (*cough* Haidl) and street harassment horror stories, (*cough* Carona) not to mention stupid-ass judges enabling rape culture. And, taking into account that it takes place in SanTana, there's the high possibility that there's more inclusion of voices of people of color, something that SlutWalk critics always point out is lacking.
Prior to the Sunday event, Unit B Studio in Santa Ana will hold a fundraiser for SlutWalk on Wednesday, April 24 featuring live band performances, an art show, raffle prizes and a bake sale. It all goes down tonight, so rock out for a cause tonight and get in on the discussion Sunday afternoon. See you there!
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