Taking Back the Streets from Anti-Woman Ideologues

(When misogynists say “don’t dress like a slut in order to avoid being victimized,” there always seems to be an unspoken “…by someone like me.” – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

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.

“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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 “mini-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!



E-mail: SlutWalkDenver@gmail.com


About nancycronk

Nancy Cronk is a longtime community activist and women’s leader living in Arapahoe County. Six months before the historic “red sweep” election of 2014, she was recruited to run as a “placeholder” in HD37, and managed to bring in 40K from 500 small donors, and 42% of the vote — just one point lower than the previous candidate who ran in a presidential year.

13 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. I got to use my promote button and my edit button for the first time, and for a good cause! <3

  2. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

     Christian Fundamentalism (not to be confused with the actual teachings of Christ) is the wellspring from which many of the reprehensible attitudes evinced by “real Christian men” like Congressman Gardner, et al. eminates.

    Those attitudes are held by cowards whose inability, or unwillingness, to understand women prods them to exploit the Churches’ innate misogyny. They blame Eve…plain and simple. It’s sooo easy.

    If anyone knows of a “Slutwalk’ in GJ tomorrow, I would be honored to participate.


  3. nancycronknancycronk says:

    I met the woman who blogged pro-prostitution rights during the SB 1185 debates (you may recall we had a very long debate/dialogue here on Pols). We talked for a long time today in person. She and another woman leader with SWOP are very intelligent, articulate, and politically sharp. We agreed we shared a common interest — promoting actions (legislation, movement, whatever it takes) to protect the most vulnerable of our citizens from abuse, intimidation and trafficking. How we get there may differ, but our goals were similar. Very cool day!

    • SWOPColorado says:

      Thank you Nancy for a heartfelt response to my business partner and I.  This is Billie…

      It was a good day to be a part of people sharing energy about sexuality.  Sex workers face the violence of sexual assault which often goes unreported due to the nature of their work. Our hope through SWOP CO is to stop the violence against sex workers in all forms.  It is my hope that women like you and others can support us in this endeavor.

      We also have to fight to stop the stigmatization and ostrazation of sex workers in the community. We are a pretty normal bunch (very cool if I must say myself) who are your neighbors, mothers, sisters, friends, political activists, social justice workers, psychotherapists, doctors and lawyers.  We are all around you :)We look forward to many more meaningful conversations in the future and facilitating an understanding of the sex worker community.

      Have a rocking 4th!

    • nancycronknancycronk says:

      I got there late and people were already leaving for “mini marches” (small groups walking around Denver with signs). Kudos to the organizers for a great event.

      All people deserve police protection from rape — women, men, children, prostitutes, cab drivers, drug addicts, homeless people, businessmen, nuns, school kids, etc. When we all band together, we make the streets safer for everyone.  

  4. ColoMod says:

    I’m rather put off by terming this event “slutwalk”. I agree with the message and with your comment Nancy, but come on now, we’re going to infer that all women who dress scantily are sluts?

    That’s awfully presumptuous, there are plenty of women, myself included, that enjoy wearing their little black dress that are in no way sluts.

    It sure is an attention grabber though.  

    • fatboy says:

      in Toronto where a police chief (IIRC) made a comment something to the effect that if women didn’t dress like sluts they wouldn’t get attacked.  Toronto is also the site of the first “Slutwalk”.

      • ColoMod says:

        it just seems a little bit like they are reinforcing the stereotype that they are trying to fight.

        • now my fourteen year old can wear her Lady Gaga live Roman candle brassiere and panty ensemble tonight, and I won’t have to feel a bit concerned.

          Thanks all.

        • nancycronknancycronk says:

          African-American friends who watch comedy that says the “n” word,

          or the gay pride parade where people are embracing the word “queer”,

          or when my kid calls his friend (also Jewish), “Jew-boy” and they laugh,

          or when my husband proudly calls him and other scientists and engineers “nerds”.  

          When the marginalized community uses the same words, it serves a different function than when the majority group uses it. The majority group using the same language is suspicious because of a long history of perseution of the marginalized group.

          This is not a new sociological phenomenon. Gender and Minority Studies 101.  

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