About 1,000 people gathered in downtown Portland yesterday afternoon for the Portland Slutwalk, the local incarnation of an international movement of marches against sexual violence (yesterday was also a Slutwalk in New Delhi). I talked with an organizer of Portland's Slutwalk last week and was a bit skeptical—will dressing up slutty actually make onlookers rethink sexual violence? But the event itself was far more interesting and powerful than I was afraid it would be (and also surprisingly fun), though I showed up the start a little late and only heard about 20 minutes of the kick-off speech making.
Organizer Sophia St. James teared up at the start, mixing alarming statistics about the rates of rape in America with the story of her own personal history of sexual assault. While St. James describes herself as a sex worker, pornographer, and mother, she says that after she was assaulted by a former friend, she felt like she could not turn to anyone, even in Portland's sexually-liberal communities. "I'm not only a victim of rape, I'm a victim of rape culture," she said. "I don't want anyone else to go through three years of isolation and depression."
The march, escorted by police and stretching a little over a city block, took over SW 4th Avenue and then a short stretch of Burnside as Slutwalkers chanted, "Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes, no means no!" Did anyone else go? What'd you think?
Lots of great costumes and signs and one totally slutty live snake, all in the photos below the cut. You can see the whole set of photos on Flickr. Some are NSFW.