August 31st marked the third annual SlutWalk Melbourne 2013.
Supporters gathered outside the State Library at 12pm, protesting against the notion of victim-blaming’ and ‘slut-shaming’ amongst women who have been sexually assaulted.
The public protest was followed by a march down Swanston Street.
Organiser and host for SlutWalk Melbourne, Karen Pickering, said that it isn’t the fault of the victim if they get raped, but the rapist’s.
“(It’s) not our clothes, time of day, or how many drinks we’ve had. As a society, we make excuses for them (sexual offenders) and that stops with us”.
A representative of Toronto police sparked the idea behind SlutWalk, after stating, “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised”, on January 24th 2011.
“The right belongs to us to express our individuality the way we f***ing want to”.
Disability Activist, Stella Young, says that pinning the blame on victims also extends to the disabled, with 1 in 20 disabled teenagers being sexually assaulted.
“We’re not often considered credible witnesses because we’re accused of making stuff up”.
Young explains that disabled women have it tougher and have to “fight to be seen at all”.
The feminist movement wants supporters to unite globally to change the notion of ‘victim-blaming’, and to create a space for all survivors and victims of sexual assault.
“Silence gives power to these attackers, and that is the silence we break today”, said Pickering.
SlutWalk Melbourne 2013 was partially funded by public donations, and the remaining money goes to Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) to care for victims of sexual assault.