What is a SlutWalk?
- A group of people taking an impassive, peaceful stance against slut-shaming and sex-shaming.
- Both men and women show their discontent by marching.
- Some participants choose to dress as “sluts” while marching, others wear everyday outfits.
- Many participants hold signs, displaying messages about sexual assault, victim-blaming, and sexuality.
- Participants in the walks hope to reclaim and re-appropriate the word “slut” while raising awareness about sexual assault and victim-blaming in society.
- To contextualize the SlutWalk in Canadian history, click here.
- To see how SlutWalks are embedded into the women’s suffrage movement, see the timeline here.
SlutWalks are “about the recognition of women as individuals with certain fundamental rights, including that of safety and personal choices, which no one, not even the family, can violate.”- Rita Banerji
The First Walk
- In 2011, a Toronto police officer named Michael Sanguinetti told a group of female law students that they needed to avoid dressing like “sluts” in order to prevent being raped.
- His comment enraged women and men alike and spurred two young students, Sonya JF Barnett and Heather Jarvis, to organize a protest against slut-shaming.
- The first SlutWalk took place in Toronto, Ontario on April 3, 2011.
- Over 3,000 people participated.
- The success of the initial walk inspired men and woman to organize SlutWalks all over the world
- For pictures and media coverage of the movement, click here.
- For first-hand accounts, see our experience of activists page.
- To learn about the consequences of the SlutWalks, click here.
“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.”- SlutWalk Participant
SlutWalk Goals and Demands
As of April 13, 2013, the SlutWalk Toronto stated on their website their initial requests of the Toronto Police Services…
1. Restructure police training and education to include non-discriminatory language, increased understanding of experiences of marginalization and oppression, and practices and protocols that support victims and survivors of sexual assault.
- Include education about blaming ideas and actions and how not to engage in victim-blaming and slut-shaming for both police and outreach communities.
- Enforce respectful and non-discriminatory training environments where oppressive jokes, ideas, and behaviors are challenged.
2. Partner with third party agencies/initiatives and have them come in and evaluate current police training and education and outreach programs. Have them work toward offering recommendations for these to be improved where necessary.
- Support transparency with recommendations that may be offered and with efforts that will be taken towards implementing constructive changes towards better non-discriminatory training and education of officers.
- Create a feasible timeline for recommendations to be put into place.
- Have a third party organization monitor and manage the implementation of these recommendations in a timely fashion.
3. Increase outreach and educational programs around sexual assault and informed consent, focusing on ‘rape myths’ and stereotypes (around perceived understandings of how assault/rape happens).
- Develop a Toronto Police PSA campaign against victim-blaming and supporting the survivors of sexual assault in accessing protective services.
- Increase outreach programs in high schools and on university and college campuses around problematic blaming ideas and language, how to get consent, and what constitutes sexual assault.
- Utilize existing initiatives and programs, incorporating and tailoring their materials towards the community/group in question.
For up-to-date news and communication, visit the general SlutWalk Facebook site.