Wednesday 8 June 2011

Sluts of the World Unite!

There were Slutwalk marches in Cardiff, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow on Saturday. The first march was organised in Toronto on the 3rd of April, following a policeman's talk to Toronto women  on how to avoid sexual violence. His advice was: 'women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised'.

Outrage: Comments from a Canadian police officer that women should 'avoid dressing like sluts' to protect themselves from rape sparked SlutWalk protests worldwide

Slut walk in London

In their manifesto the Toronto organisers stated: 'we are tired of being oppressed 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'.

Thousands of protestors took to the streets of Melbourne on Saturday in support of the global "SlutWalk" movement. Photo by Ken Irwin.

Slutwalk in Melbourne

The Toronto march sparked a wave of marches across Canada and the U.S.A., and now following this weekend's marches in the U.K., more are planned throughout the world.


Slutwalk in Glasgow

Sexual violence and rape must be the only crimes where the blame is put on the victim. Women who are sexually assaulted are told that 'it was their fault',  'they were asking for it',  'they were wearing the wrong clothes'.  Thus, the myth about rape is perpetuated: rape is about power and control, not about sexual desire or women's clothing.

Women are defined by their sexuality and unfortunately the dichotomy of Madonna/whore still exists. The consumption of pornography is out of control with ever younger boys having access to it.

Furthermore, the government estimates that 95% of all rapes are never reported. Of the rapes that were reported in 2007-2008, only 6.5% resulted in a conviction.


Slutwalk Chicago

There is quite a lot of controversy over the adoption of the term 'slut' . I am not sure how I feel about it, despite the title of this post, which I could not resist,  but I think that the main thing is that women and men are taking to the streets and saying 'no means no' and asking for an end to sexual violence. The message is clear - rapists, not victims are at fault.

Protesters march in Toronto 'Slutwalk'

Slutwalk in Toronto


  1. A hard one this in it's vocabulary. I find the word "slut" difficult to adopt as natural usage but the fact that we are still fighting for women's right to their own bodies after all these years is very hard to cope with.

  2. Forgive the grocer's apostrophe. I am working on my iPad for the first time and concentrating on this on screen key board!

  3. Avril, I know, I know. I too feel uncomfortable with the word. Gay men were quite successful in reclaiming the word 'queer' but it is not the same with women, as swear/bad words for women are so much more numerous and so much more potent - this is so much part of our culture. Katharine Whitehorn tried to reclaim the word slut in the late '80s but it did not have the same sexual connotations as it does today. Unfortunately, we are increasingly defined by our sexuality. So I am just glad that so many women and men are taking to the streets saying 'no more'.

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