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Activist Communique: SlutWalk London and Ottawa today

London SlutWalk

Sunday April 10, 2011

12 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Victoria Park

London, ON

Organized by the Amazon Collective and V-Day Western


SlutWalk Ottawa

Sunday April 10, 2011

1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Minto Park

Elgin and Gilmour Street

Rabble Article: SlutWalk: Changing a 'don't get raped' culture to a 'don't rape' culture


Adapted from the Toronto site:

On January 24, 2011, a representative of the Toronto Police gave a speech in which he stated: "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized".

This comment is alarming coming from an individual in a place authority as it discourages victims/ survivors to come forward for support. It is important to hold those in positions of power, not just the police, accountable for the dangerous ideas they reflect into the community. We must also recognize that these notions are held by many in our society. This was one individual speaking the minds of many folks in our communities. This is the problem. We live in a society that believes that women are responsible for not getting raped. Being assaulted isn't about what you wear; it's not even about sex; by simply using a derogatory term to rationalize inexcusable behaviour it creates an environment in which it's okay to blame the victim/survivor.

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. We are using this word in our walk to highlight the many ways in which women are silenced, harmed, made invisible, and shamed through it. This word has been used as a tool of violence against women who do not fit notions of 'appropriate' femininity. Women are labelled as sluts regardless of what they wear, how they socialize, and how they lead their romantic/ sexual encounters. By society standards we are all at some point.... sluts. No longer will we be silent about the impact of this word and the sentiments surrounding it.

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 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.

What we want is meaningful dialogue and we are doing something about it: WE ARE COMING TOGETHER. Not only as women, but 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.

Join us in our mission to spread the word that those those who experience sexual assault are not the ones at fault, without exception.

This is a PEACEFUL demonstration. We are uniting to make our voices heard, and asking the Toronto Police Force to be part of an ongoing conversation about training/retraining those in charge of our protective care about why sexual assault takes place, and how we can work toward a better plan in changing prevailing attitudes.

We are NOT walking to vilify the Police Force. We understand that it is through working together that change can be affected.

We are not asking to 'vamp up' the streets of Toronto, as that would be falling into the traditional stereotype that we are working hard to break. SlutWalk Toronto is asking you to COME AS YOU ARE. If you want to wear fishnets, great. If you want to wear parkas, that's just as great. No matter how you visually identify, come walk with us. And we're welcoming ALL those who feel that prevailing attitudes as to why sexual assault happens need to change: WHETHER YOU'RE A SLUT OR AN ALLY, come walk, roll, holler or stomp with us.


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