Minus Facebook's inflated numbers, SlutWalk Denver was a success

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Bree Davies
Several hundred people came together on Saturday in Civic Center Park for the Denver edition of SlutWalk, a gathering of women and men seeking to bring attention to victim-blaming and shaming of victims of sexual assault and rape. The movement, which began in Toronto in January in response to a police officer's statements that women could actually avoid being sexually assaulted and raped by not dressing like "sluts" (hence the name), has gained momentum in the States since. The Denver rally was a strong one, with keynote speaker and journalist Pamela White leading the afternoon of mini-marches and, later, the chance for victims of sexual violence to get up and share their stories with the amphitheatre.

Last week, Westword highlighted some Facebook comments on the SlutWalk Seattle event page, which led to one commenter coming back to defend his comments on the controversy over the controversy. It seems that (on Facebook anyway) the movement's biggest issue has been the name itself -- which was chosen by the first rally's participants as a way to take back the word "slut" and the idea that victims can control and should be responsible for their attacker's behavior. But beyond the lexical issue, Facebook also made another problem glaringly obvious: the amount of people who said they would attend the event versus the amount of people who actually did.

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Photo by Brandon Marshall.
See the full SlutWalk Denver slide show.
Sure, Facebook isn't the go-to source for facts and information on current issues, but it is often a good gauge of what is going on in the world socially. For Denver's edition of SlutWalk, 3,744 people responded that they would be attending last Saturday's march and rally, and over 1,000 said they were "maybe" joining in. When it came time for the actual SlutWalk gathering, only several hundred showed up.

This doesn't in any way undermine the success of SlutWalk Denver; it was still a powerful day for those who did come out for the rally. But it left me wondering: Was the low turnout due to apathy? Or could it have been a fear of making an actual public statement about something as controversial as SlutWalk?
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The holiday weekend no doubt could have had an impact on the numbers too. But overall, I was disappointed with the turnout and the lack of familiar faces -- especially considering the amount of traffic, commentary and arguments that occurred on my own Facebook page when I posted about the movement last month.

Regardless, the message of SlutWalk was loud and clear. There is word spreading that the rally will become a yearly event, as the issues surround sexual assault, rape, victim-blaming and rape culture most certainly aren't going to go away. My only hope is that people come out from behind their computer screens and actually "check in" to something other than their favorite hamburger joint. Because while Facebook is really great at connecting and informing us, it isn't always so good at getting us to actually do something.


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4 comments
Disgusted!!!!
Disgusted!!!!

The woman from the sex workers out reach  program with the balloons at the very end, is a violent person.. Her name is domina elle.. She has physically assaulted several people in the bdsm community out of anger, because she could not control them, including an elderly crippled submissive who served her..Consent is very important in bdsm... Domina elle has went after, other sex workers, mainly other ProDommes.. Domina elle has called the police on other Dommes in an attempt to rid herself of competition.. She has stalked and threatened other ProDommes... Swop really needs to reevaluate their membership and who they have representing them publicly...Everything swop is against is what domina elle has done to other sex workers.

paeonia.d
paeonia.d

@Disgusted!!!!SWOP Colorado asked both Elle and another pro-domme to step back from the meetings, they were bringing us accusations against each other that we were not equipped to handle.  We continue not to be able to do so.  Elle and another member of this organization then became involved in a dispute with a large number of other members.  They were not willing to work with these two subsequently.  It was a difficult split and we became SWOP Denver.  Two members were then threatened with frivolous lawsuits.  These two, for some reason, registered themselves as an LLC.  Others in SWOP Nationally were frightened by this behavior, and they were asked to stop using the SWOP name.  SWOP Denver has about a dozen active membership though after being thoroughly damaged by this incident, it has been particularly difficult to rebuild.  I believe SWAN remains the two of them (despite active attempts by other people to get involved).  

Trollwatcher
Trollwatcher

@Disgusted!!!! 

@Disgusted!!! You are a BIG FAT LIAR!!!!! I have known Domina Elle for many years now. I have personally witnessed several of her competitors (I am certain you are one of those women) spreading this crap in a variety of places. You even came at me with this crap which is how I know its you. NOT A SINGLE WORD OF THIS IS TRUE. I would bet my life I could name the person who wrote this. She's a very sad character who spends way too much time on the Internet attacking a number of people not just Elle. She is one of those people who shouldn't have the privilege of the Internet. She has targeted Elle for years (stalks is a better word for it) and if you saw her- its obviously a sad case of competitive jealousy. Elle is a lovely human being and doesn't need me to defend her, her character speaks for itself and if you ever have the pleasure of meeting her you will be delighted. These pathetic fools give the vocation of pro domme a bad name (and it isn't exactly respected by the mainstream as it stands you would think they would be smarter about how they act but idiots are everywhere), and they make a mockery of the 'safe sane and consensual' mantra you hear throughout the so called 'kink community'. The Denver kink community has quite a few bullies trying to be queen and king of the playground. It's the main reason I don't go out to events anymore. It was like dealing with children and frankly I prefer adult company as I am an adult. I guess that's why I prefer Elle. She is wonderful, genuine, and I can see why these insecure types feel threatened by her. They obviously are insecure and threatened by her to have written this as they have. Get help Disgusted, your behavior, and at your age IS disgusting. You should be embarrassed and ashamed of yourself.

paeonia.d
paeonia.d

@Trollwatcher I believe you may be confusing me with another commenter, though I am not in any way a competitor to Elle nor pro-domme, and my organization continues to be affiliated with SWOP while hers is not, so maybe I am being paranoid.  In any case, just in case and to be clear, I did not write this comment, though I do spend a lot of time on the internet.  I most definitely have been subject to a smear campaign by this woman in certain respects, as have a number of other, now former, members of SWOP.  Rebuilding membership has been difficult though there are about a dozen members currently.  She continues to do active harm to the efforts of other activists.  If she is continuing in her smear campaign that is in fact bullying.  She does in fact have disputes with a number of her competitors however.

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