MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Organized walks are usually meant to promote a charity, but that’s not the plan for a walk this weekend in the Twin Cities.
In fact this walk has some controversy, which includes its name: “SlutWalk.”
“Our message is don’t blame the victim. Put it where it belongs on the perpetrator,” said Organizer Kimberia Sherva, who helped bring “SlutWalk” to Minnesota.
It’ll happen Saturday afternoon along the downtown Minneapolis riverfront and on the Stone Arch Bridge. The loop will run nearly two miles.
It’s one of dozens of “SlutWalk” events that have happened across the country and even around the world. From Seattle to Boston, the walks are pushing women’s safety. They’re billed as protest marches against blaming victims for sexual violence.
Call it a voice of encouragement, said organizers. Participants are also out to prove that there’s nothing wrong with how they dress.
“We have had enough, enough of being told we should be ashamed of ourselves, ashamed of our appearance,” said one participant at a rally in Toronto, Canada, back in April.
Participants said the word ‘slut’ becomes empowering.
“We are proud of our sexuality,” said another participant. “It is by no means an invitation to violence.”
The idea came out of Toronto, Canada, after a police officer told a group of college women that if they want to avoid being a victim to sexual violence, they shouldn’t dress like a slut.
More than 1,000 people are expected to participate in this weekend’s walk in the Twin Cities, but not everyone is happy about it.
Members of an organization called the “Black Women’s Blueprint,” which promotes equality, don’t like the name of the walk. They say self-identifying with the term slut won’t make women safer and sends the wrong message to young girls and men.
Even those negative voices aren’t stopping organizers from putting together a 100 more “SlutWalk” events across the globe.
“We’ll have another one,” said Sherva, expecting that it’ll be bigger next year in the Twin Cities.
Even before those first steps are taken this year, organizers know they’ve already hit the wrong note with some women.