Toronto’s Slut Walk

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All images by Paisley Rae @PaisleyRae on Twitter. Used with permission.

Slut Walk took over the streets of Toronto today as large numbers of people turned out to protest a remark made by a Toronto Police Officer which suggested that women could avoid rape by not dressing like “sluts“. That the statement was made during a safety briefing at York University is even more stunning.

The remark prompted activists to organize Slut Walk on April 3, 2011 to demand greater sensitivity from the Toronto Police. While I am a supporter of  the Toronto Police Service (my brother has been an officer in it for almost two decades and I even worked for them briefly) there is always room for improvement. Very proud that the people of Toronto always demand better.

From the Slut Walk site:

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. 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.

Visit the site here.

There is another picture gallery on Flickr here.

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3 Responses to “Toronto’s Slut Walk”

  1. Hey Big Bro…..Give me credit…… I’ve been a Police Officer for almost 24 years now and a sergeant for almost 10 LOL…..Big Little Bro. While I strongly disagree with the young officers choice of words I still believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure but that pertains to being aware of your surroundings and the reality that there are sick and deviant people out there…… While it may be your right to walk down a dark alley or forrested area in the dead of night is it worth the risk??? There are sexual predators out there who do not hold to any morale standard or belief system! In a perfect World there would be no people who prey on others or are violent towards others but the reality is that there will always be psychotics and sociopaths out there ; it is the nature of humanity……..Three quarters of the population could be Police officers and crimes would still occur…. We in the Law enforcement field can only keep trying our best to protect the people we serve through enforcement and education…… I always use the example of pedestrian struck accidents …..I have seen some horrible injuries and fatalities over the years ……some of these pedestrians had the “right of way” but does it really matter…….When I as a Sergeant has to attend someones home to tell them that their loved one is not coming home I can assure you that the family would find little solice in the fact that the person they love is dead BUT THEY HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY. As I always like to say “Don’t be Dead right”.

  2. I say AMEN! You are right on every point! Prevent by non-exposure. I have also read the statistics in magazines a few years ago, that most offenders get wired up with pornographic material. I say that the in-the-flesh porn-dressing of our young ladies nowadays is tatamount to porn materials.

    They are denying that men and boys with raging hormones can be teased and still not act on their natural impulses. I say modesty is a woman’s best defense.

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