On January 24th, 2011, a representative of the Toronto Police gave shocking insight into the Force’s view of sexual assault by stating: “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. A tremendous outcry followed this statement leading to the first SlutWalk taking place in Toronto on April 3rd, 2011. Immediately, Toronto’s sentiment spread throughout the world, with women, men, and children taking to the streets to demand their right to live without fear of sexual violence based on their life choices; clothing, work, lifestyle choices, etc.
On August 13th, 2011 SlutWalk D.C. will join our SlutWalk sisters and brothers across the globe and march to bring an end to Slut Shaming and Victim Blaming. No one asks to be sexually assaulted.
Why We Care About SlutWalk
Most people know someone who has been sexually assaulted. Whether it was your parent, your friend, your teacher, your sibling, your classmate, you teammate, or yourself, sexual assault has touched all of us. Slutwalk is an opportunity to stand, walk, chant, and shout our powerful opposition to this practice and its commonplace appearance in our society. Slutwalk is a place to stand strongly and unconditionally with all survivors of sexual assault. It is a time to say that it is never, under, any circumstances, the fault of the victim, and to show solidarity to all who have experienced sexual assault. It is a place to express our demand for control over our own bodies, physical and sexual space. It is a place to condemn the policies that embolden and condone a rape culture and to call out their disproportionate impact on gay, lesbian, and transgender communities, poor and working class people, people of color, immigrants without documents, incarcerated individuals, people who engage in sex work, and individuals with physical or mental disabilities. Slutwalk is a place to demand a world free from sexual assault, a place to discuss, think, and debate about what type of women’s rights, gay rights, and gender equality movement we want, and decide what direction we, as that movement, will walk in next. (ISO: DC Chapter)
From the website of the Toronto SlutWalk
On January 24th, 2011, a representative of the Toronto Police gave shocking insight into the Force’s view of sexual assault by stating: “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”.
As the city’s major protective service, the Toronto Police have perpetuated the myth and stereotype of ‘the slut’, and in doing so have failed us. With sexual assault already a significantly under-reported crime, survivors have now been given even less of a reason to go to the Police, for fear that they could be blamed. Being assaulted isn’t about what you wear; it’s not even about sex; but using a pejorative term to rationalize inexcusable behaviour creates an environment in which it’s okay to blame the victim.
Historically, the term ‘slut’ has carried a predominantly negative connotation. Aimed at those who are sexually promiscuous, be it for work or pleasure, it has primarily been women who have suffered under the burden of this label. And whether dished out as a serious indictment of one’s character or merely as a flippant insult, the intent behind the word is always to wound, so we’re taking it back. “Slut” is being re-appropriated.
We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.
We are a movement demanding that our voices be heard. We are here to call foul on our Police Force and demand change. We want Toronto Police Services to take serious steps to regain our trust. We want to feel that we will be respected and protected should we ever need them, but more importantly be certain that those charged with our safety have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — slut or otherwise.
We are tired of speeches filled with lip service and the apologies that accompany them. What we want is meaningful dialogue and we are doing something about it: WE ARE COMING TOGETHER. Not only as women, but as people from all gender expressions and orientations, all walks of life, levels of employment and education, all races, ages, abilities, and backgrounds, from all points of this city and elsewhere.
We are asking you to join us for SlutWalk, to make a unified statement about sexual assault and victims’ rights and to demand respect for all. Whether a fellow slut or simply an ally, you don’t have to wear your sexual proclivities on your sleeve, we just ask that you come. Any gender-identification, any age. Singles, couples, parents, sisters, brothers, children, friends. Come walk or roll or strut or holler or stomp with us. This has become a global movement, with Satellites happening all over the world. See if there’s one in your city.
Join us in our mission to spread the word that those who experience sexual assault are not the ones at fault, without exception.
We are currently working on the next steps for SlutWalk Toronto, and SlutWalk as an umbrella for a global support system. Check out what we’ve got planned for the rest of the year. You can also chime in on our Facebook Page, where hundreds of conversations are taking place.