CHICAGO — The third annual SlutWalk Chicago, an event aimed at highlighting the unfairness of blaming victims in rape cases, is set to take place Saturday afternoon.
"I think it will bring the issue to light," said organizer Vera Kim Mikrut.
The event will "help [victims] find a voice and show that rape culture is a real thing," she added.
The SlutWalk began as an international movement in 2011 in response to a Toronto police officer telling a group of students "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."
This year's edition in Chicago kicks off at 2 p.m. at Daley Plaza. Organizers have encouraged participants to arrive at 1 p.m. to make signs to carry along the route.
After the walk that will take marchers east to Michigan Avenue and south to Jackson Boulevard before heading back to Daley Plaza, a series of speakers including author Jody Raphael, comedian Stephanie Anderson and Steve Adler of the Rape Victim Advocates, will speak.
As of Friday afternoon, 600 people said on Facebook they would attend the event.
Robert Eckstein, of the University of New Hampshire, who has studied the topic, says research has shown that people blame victims of rape at a higher rate than victims of other crimes.
Eckstein believes one reason may be that many people believe in a "just-world" theory — that if something bad happens to someone, the victim must have had something to do with it.
Race and social class can also come into play, with victims who are considered "less respectable" more likely to be blamed, he said.
Sexism and misogyny also play a role, according to a university press release on the topic.
"Research has indicated that people who hold more sexist attitudes, who have more generally negative views of women, and who adhere more to traditional gender roles are more likely to blame victims in cases of rape," Eckstein says in the release.