The March to End Rape Culture in Philly

On Septemer 28, almost three hundred people gathered in Philadelphia at The Thomas Paine Plaza to march at the annual March To End Rape Culture. Before I start explaining the events of the march, I’m going to take some time to describe what this term “rape culture” really is and why this cause is so, so important. 

Rape culture, by definition, is “a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.”  The key word in this definition is the normalization. It can be hard to grasp or realize that you live and have been affected by rape culture when you have been living in it your entire life. Here are some things you may have experienced throughout your live in today’s society:

  • The president has openly bragged about sexual assualt and has been accused of sexual assault by 24 women. He was still elected president. 

  • A Supreme Court nominee was put on trial for attempted rape against a succesful professor at a university and is still elected to the Supreme Court.

  • Street harassment / catcalling 

  • Slut-shaming 

  • Victim blaming 

  • Gaslighting

  • Sexual objectification 

  • SEXISM, GENDER ROLES, TOXIC MASCULINITY, TRANSPHOBIA & HOMOPHOBIA

These are just some of the things that have been normalized and institutionalized through rape culture. The intention of the march is to raise awareness and, most importantly, break the silence. Rape culture works in a way where the victims of it are taught to feel shame for being a victim, which in turn causes their silence. When we speak up about our experiences, it inevitably allows others to feel free to speak of their own experiences. The first step in dismantling this culture is by telling our truths without shame and listening to the stories of others without judgement. 

On the day of the march, there were five speeches given to the public before it began. Chelle Inzerillo spoke first on the march itself to remind and inform everyone of the true essence of why we were all marching. Amanda Spitfire spoke after that to speak about a sister march called “Take Back the Night.” “Take Back the Night” is a march dedicated to advocating for the end of sexual, relationship and domestic violence in all forms and is set to take place this year on April 25 -- more information can be found here http://tbtnphilly.org/.

The last three speakers were Erika Almiron, Jennifer Storm and Samanya Abu-Orf. The speakers talked on behalf of their personal experiences and also on organizations that help those heal from the effects and implications of living in a society that condones rape culture. These organizations that partner with the march are working year round for the end of rape culture -- and we can work with them. Here are just some of the march’s partners that we can volunteer with and support:

If you have some time to volunteer with some of these groups, donate some money or just show your support in any form, you can help to end rape culture. Working with these organizations is a wonderful way to help the fight and support the movement, but there are also things you can do in your everyday life to help. 

Speaking your truth, listening to others stories & experiences and holding people accountable for their actions all pave the way for a future where no person has to live within a rape culture society again.