By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Saturday, August 9th, approximately four hundred people gathered in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro for this year’s Marcha das Vadias, the Brazilian version of SlutWalk, a march in defense of women’s rights.
Beginning at around 1PM the group, consisting of both women and men, assembled at Posto 5 (lifeguard stand 5) on Copacabana Beach. The marchers, who then made their way down Avenida Atlântica (Atlantic Avenue), carried signs and banners, protesting various issues and representing several organizations.
Laura Lee, vice president of the Vitamore group, a group of patients with the thought to be sexually transmitted disease HTLV (human T-cell leukemia virus), told Agência Brasil; “We came to [the march] to raise awareness of this virus and also to defend the rights of women.”
The group Madalenas – Teatro das Oprimidas (Magdalenes group – Theater of the Oppressed) presented a performance piece during the march at around 3:30 PM with international participants, including women from the countries of the United States, Mexico, Chile, and Switzerland, among others.
Also during the demonstration, several participants marched topless. Reactions during a previous Marcha das Vadias event were the original inspiration for Ana Rios and Bruna Oliveira’s, ‘Toplessaço’ event, held in December of last year. That demonstration featured a handful of protestors removing their tops on Ipanema beach.
Last year’s Marcha das Vadias, held in July, coincided with the World Youth Day (WYD) prayer vigil, when Catholics from around the world, including Pope Francis visited the city. During that march some demonstrators participated naked, while others broke religious images in protest of the Pope and the Catholic church’s treatment of women.
The SlutWalk movement began in Toronto, Canada in 2011 as a protest march against using a woman’s appearance or choice of clothing as an excuse or justification for rape or sexual assault. Cities around the world followed, holding their own marches.
“The situation is the same in any country in the world. Therefore it is important to draw attention to these problems,” British national and Brazil resident Elizabeth Lewis told O Globo. “If people think that women deserve to be raped because they’re short clothes, we have to educate them.”
Read more (in Portuguese).
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