What is a Slutwalk?




Respect is an attitude. Dignity is a right. #slutwalk Don’t judge us for your thoughts.

It all began with a safety forum at a York University on 24th January 2011. Constable Michael Sanguinetti and another officer from the Toronto Police Service’s 31 Division were speakers there. As a part of raising awareness about safety around the school, they were meant to talk about proactive measures students could take. The suggestions included the words “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”.

In another incident (unrelated) Justice Robert Dewar gave a rapist two years of probation and an order to write a letter of apology to the victim; even when the crime should have got three years in prison at least, because the victim was wearing a tube top and heels and “sex was in the air” and since the rapist did not threated her but was “insensitive to the fact (she) was not a willing participant”. This was appalling that a rapist did not get any prison time because of the victim was wearing.

In the outrage that followed, Sonya Barnett and Heather Jarvis organized a march on the 3rd of April 2011 to protest the victimization of women being justified by accusations of promiscuousness. People of all genders, ages and races participated in clothing that ranged from conservative to clothes typically associated with prostitutes.

In their words:

… 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.

From Wikipedia

Some of the signs read “sluts have dreams too”, “NOT asking for it”, “proud sluts”, “sluts say yes” and “police look like sluts to uniform fetishists”. There were some men who participated; holding signs such as “real men take no for an answer”, “sluts are not as disgusting as Toronto police services”, and “real men don’t rape”.

The idea caught the imagination of people the world over, and many cities around the world have held slutwalks since then.

I heard of the concept in May and have been following it keenly, hoping that they take on in India as well. We have a strong culture of slut-shaming where morals and worthiness of a woman is often judged by her clothes and her dignity as a person is undermined by disrespectful evaluations that abandon responsibility for her safety.

Just last week, we had a commenter on this blog speak in such a manner.

There are countless instances of violence, punishment, social judgments and repression.

We need a slutwalk to happen in every city, town, village and locality. We need a slutwalk happen each time a woman steps out on the street. It is going to be a long journey to change minds, to create that space for the dignity of being a person and expecting safety as a right. To getting people to realize that no matter how a woman dresses, she is a person, and she has a right to say “no”.

The journey begins. Delhi has a slutwalk this month on 25th June 2011, and it is much needed. I am certain many cities will follow.

Stay tuned to a slutwalk happening in your area, and participate. Better still, organize one!

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About the Author

Vidyut
Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

16 Comments on "What is a Slutwalk?"

  1. I do not think this (the walks by a few)  helps (woman be safer in the long run). But please go ahead
    http://globalnewsdiscussion.com/index.php?topic=90.msg150;boardseen#new

  2. I do not think this (the walks by a few)  helps (woman be safer in the long run). But please go ahead
    http://globalnewsdiscussion.com/index.php?topic=90.msg150;boardseen#new

  3. Delhi has one on 25th June. Mumbai dates still unknown.

  4. Delhi has one on 25th June. Mumbai dates still unknown.

  5. BTW, we’re having one in Mumbai too 😀 soon.

  6. BTW, we’re having one in Mumbai too 😀 soon.

  7. Precisely why the walk is needed. To challenge these perceptions. You might be interested in an article by Nitin Pai in today’s DNA – http://t.co/wfu4Maj

    A woman is not a possession like a wallet. Nor is abuse of one justified for any reason. THAT is what the walk is about.

  8. Precisely why the walk is needed. To challenge these perceptions. You might be interested in an article by Nitin Pai in today’s DNA – http://t.co/wfu4Maj

    A woman is not a possession like a wallet. Nor is abuse of one justified for any reason. THAT is what the walk is about.

  9. Parantap Pandya | June 8, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Reply

    I would like to volunteer….let me know dates will fly down….any time for a good cause……:)

  10. Parantap Pandya | June 8, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Reply

    I would like to volunteer….let me know dates will fly down….any time for a good cause……:)

  11. Shipra Verma | June 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Reply

    Verrryyyy difficult to change the male psyche, Vidyut!! They will always think like that. Even a protest march seems to be an exhibition to them. Certainly a sorry state of affair..

  12. Shipra Verma | June 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Reply

    Verrryyyy difficult to change the male psyche, Vidyut!! They will always think like that. Even a protest march seems to be an exhibition to them. Certainly a sorry state of affair..

  13. Parantap Pandya | June 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Reply

    Abuse is wrong and there is no justfication, the perpetrators should be held accountable and punished and yes ACLU and all other organizatons have fought.hard for individual rights and rightly so …women can dress how ever they want…but where do u draw the line between right to dress as one desires to acting stupid against own self interest.i.e having said that why.isnt the intellectual feminst think tank challenging the notion that by flaunting bodies,appearing sexy which is to be more desirable.and appealing to same sex or opposite sex seeking approval and using this way of feeling good about own self …sexyness is becoming panecea for low self esteem……..it is a seperate but relevant issue……other aspects of personality dont get as much attention and hence dont develop….

  14. Parantap Pandya | June 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Reply

    Abuse is wrong and there is no justfication, the perpetrators should be held accountable and punished and yes ACLU and all other organizatons have fought.hard for individual rights and rightly so …women can dress how ever they want…but where do u draw the line between right to dress as one desires to acting stupid against own self interest.i.e having said that why.isnt the intellectual feminst think tank challenging the notion that by flaunting bodies,appearing sexy which is to be more desirable.and appealing to same sex or opposite sex seeking approval and using this way of feeling good about own self …sexyness is becoming panecea for low self esteem……..it is a seperate but relevant issue……other aspects of personality dont get as much attention and hence dont develop….

  15. Parantap Pandya | June 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Reply

    Please dont get me wrong but its Triveni Sangam….Exhibitionism in Name of Feminism to the Delight of Voyuerism……..jokes apart a shallow superficial attempt entertaining though……common sense says yes we have a right to carry a wallet ir purse but if you flash it be prepared to face what may follow…….

  16. Parantap Pandya | June 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Reply

    Please dont get me wrong but its Triveni Sangam….Exhibitionism in Name of Feminism to the Delight of Voyuerism……..jokes apart a shallow superficial attempt entertaining though……common sense says yes we have a right to carry a wallet ir purse but if you flash it be prepared to face what may follow…….

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