On January 24th, 2011, a representative of the Toronto Police gave shocking insight into the Force’s view of sexual assault by stating: “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”.
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. 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.
We are asking you to join us for SlutWalk, to make a unified statement about sexual assault and victims’ rights and to demand respect for all. Whether a fellow slut or simply an ally, you don’t have to wear your sexual proclivities on your sleeve, we just ask that you come. Any gender-identification, any age. Singles, couples, parents, sisters, brothers, children, friends. Come walk or roll or strut or holler or stomp with us. This has become a global movement and we are bringing it to Phoenix/Tempe!
Join us in our mission to spread the word that those who experience sexual assault are not the ones at fault, without exception.
- SlutWalk is not about hate, and we do not use hateful language.
- SlutWalk aims to reclaim the word “slut” and use it in a positive, empowering and respectful way.
- Refer to sexual assault, not solely rape.
- Do not frame sexual assault as something solely done by men to women.
- Women are most often the targets and men are most often the perpetrators, but all genders are affected. SlutWalk recognizes all gender expressions as those that have been and can be negatively impacted.All genders can be sluts or allies.
- Some communities/people are at a higher risk of sexual assault than others based on their status, work, ability, access, race, identity, and a variety of other factors. We aim to recognize this and come together, in all our diversity, as people who are all affected and unite as sluts and allies. We suggest you engage in dialogue with groups in your area that will help include many diverse voices in your event.
- Use inclusive and respectful language when discussing the diversity of people affected: men/women and all gender expressions, racialized communities, people of different abilities, etc.
- SlutWalk is an impassioned and peaceful stance that aims to engage others in dialogue.