August’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Julia Winterhalder and the Purple Sisters Youth Advisory to support SlutWalk Ottawa 2023.
“SlutWalk is a movement of protest which aims to end rape culture and sexual violence,” explains Julia. “The goal of the protest is to move towards eliminating a culture of victim-blaming and sex-shaming in our society, and to empower and inspire survivors. It raises awareness that no matter what someone is wearing, it is never the survivor's fault.”
SlutWalk started in Toronto in 2011, after a police officer told students at York University that if women wanted to avoid rape they should not dress like sluts.
This year’s SlutWalk Ottawa will be focused on the theme of bodily autonomy. “With reproductive rights and transgender healthcare being increasingly at risk,” says Julia, “we want to open the SlutWalk space to more intersectional feminist issues. We will be encouraging speakers from these areas, and those wishing to discuss the traditional SlutWalk themes, to share their stories and perspectives. In addition to making posters beforehand, we will also be hosting a chalking session as the event concludes, where participants will be able to decorate the area with their messages. We are hoping that in doing so, not only are participants more able to create community, but leave a more lasting impact.”
The event will take place on Sunday, September 10, from 12:30-4:30 PM, starting from the Human Rights Monument at Elgin and Lisgar. There is no need to sign up, but organizers suggest bringing a poster and a friend.
“SlutWalk is more than a march,” adds Julia. “It is an opportunity for community building, storytelling, and challenging the patriarchal status quo.”
Julia is an undergraduate student in international development, gender, sexuality, feminism, and social justice. The Purple Sisters are a group of young feminists who work to empower young women and gender diverse people from all backgrounds, regardless of class, race, sexual orientation, religion, or ability.
Funded by Ottawa, ON (August 2023)