“Sluts” everywhere are coming together to reclaim a word that unfairly defines women based on their sexual behaviors. The “Slutwalk,” originally confined to Toronto, is on its way to a town near you in the hopes of spreading the good word that women do not deserve to be violated verbally, sexually or otherwise.
After a Toronto police officer allegedly told a group of York University students that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized,” five women collectivized to reclaim the powerful four-letter word, “slut.” Initially, the Toronto SlutWalk was meant to “demand better” from the police force, demanding an apology not for the use of the word, per se, but for the notion that women’s dress, however “slutty,” could warrant victimization.
Co-founder Heather Jarvis even asked for a formal retraining of officers so that “they understand what it means to be a victim.” But after hundreds showed up to the April walk, the founders realized that they’d hit a nerve and started a conversation that was larger than the Toronto Police force.
In just a month, the SlutWalk has not only gained media attention for shedding a light on rape culture, but it has successfully spread the word to the masses: Women should not be victimized on account of their self-expression. Women, as feminist writer Jaclyn Friedman suggests, should “have the freedom to act as our authentic self in public without being subject to sexual violence.”
Boston recently staged its own Slutwalk, and satellite groups will bring the march to many other cities over the next few months. See the entire schedule and join the conversation on their Facebook page.
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