Slut Walk 2018: Protesters target victim-blaming and rape culture

Protesters held placards throughout the event. Picture Nishant Kulkarni.

By SHEETAL SINGH and NISHANT KULKARNI 

The Slut Walk event is a place for victims of sexual violence to not feel alone, says organiser Mev Taylor.

The annual international protest, held in Melbourne on Saturday, aims to end to rape culture, including victim-blaming and slut shaming of sexual assault victims.

Ms Taylor said she had suffered sexual assault, sexual violence and sexual harassment since her early teens. 

“It has motivated me to get really active for the cause since the past three years,” she said.

Slut Walk is a global movement and public protest that rails against the notion of “victim blaming” –  the concept that people who have been assaulted or raped made themselves a target through the way they dressed or acted.

Protesters held signs during the speeches. Picture: Sheetal Singh

Abuse victim Nikki Keating, who works as an anti-sexual violence rights activist, said communities that had experienced trauma “do not need guidance, they need a platform”.

“My first psychologist said I asked for assault at the age of 21. My second psychologist said that I was un-helpable,” Ms Keating said. 

“I personally know a lot of victims and friends who have experienced sexual harassment and sexual assault and this is a event where they can have like-minded people where they can have support around. It’s a really supportive event for people that have experienced these things,” Ms Taylor said.

However, the event had suffered some internet trolling.

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“There has been some negative backlash, people that associate them with the ALT Right,” Ms Taylor said. 

More than 400 people attended, with a number of safety marshals wearing high visibility vests around the area.

There were at least two arrests, including a man who has links to Reclaim Australia and The United Patriots Front. “I’m just here taking videos. Doing my job. No further comments,” he said. 

Another person who was escorted away told Mojo News: “This is a public space, don’t tell me to not to take photos. We don’t think anyone should be raped. We are just tourists.”