- Scene from the march. (Photo: Sarah Godfrey)
The demonstration known as Slutwalk D.C. happened last Saturday and despite a sudden and intense burst of rain, the event seems like it was a success. I walked down 15th Street to the Washington Monument, where hundreds of men and women gathered with signs to protest the idea that a woman's clothing is ever at fault in instances of rape. The message was a clarion call against the idea that rape victims are in any way to blame for their rapists' actions, and that women should have the freedom to dress any way they choose without welcoming such violence. To celebrate this freedom, the marchers frequently bared their fair share of skin, often painted with the word "slut" and other slogans to make the point.
What I liked and thought was entirely relevant to this transportation space was how terrific the notion of the political march has become in our society. These hundreds of people walked to make a statement about something profoundly serious, something affecting people around the globe, and how did they accomplish it? By walking a third of the mile on a public street and its sidewalks.
Such simple pedestrian travel inspired plentiful media coverage and a groundswell of support and interest in what these people had to say. I love the capacity of such a terrific political march such as this, so pointed and yet so peaceful and straightforward in its own right. Whether talking the civil rights movement, Tea Partiers, or Slutwalk D.C., the reality that our own two feet combined with other feet combined with signs, cheers, and the right planning can create the sense of a movement, of a unified voice ... that's a transit fact worth noting and elevating.
I'm also impressed by how many gathered Slutwalkers stayed at the Washington Monument's Sylvan Theater as rain poured down during the first speeches. I lacked any umbrella myself, and three women friends and I simply held signs over our heads as we listened. Watch some of the videos that emerged from the Slutwalk here: