September 4, 2011
Author: David Thomas
Translation: Pierre Thomas
From Toronto in April, The Slutwalk movement has since become widespread, protesting the sexual mugging to which some women are still prey. From Boston to Johannesburg, including London, New-Delhi or Prague, Slutwalks are about to become the most federative women’s liberation movement in the last decades.
“Don’t tell women how to dress, tell men not to rape”
“Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. Uttered by police officer Michael Sanguinetti at a lecture at Toronto University, this is the sentence that ignited the powder-keg. In spite of his apologies, response was not slow in coming : “we were fed up, infuriated, but we did not want to be content with only being angry”, explains Heather Jarvis, co-founder of the slutwalk movement. Initiated by five Canadian women, the first slutwalk shook Toronto on 3rd April. 3000 people took to the street with a single instruction: dress short, sexy and provocative; in a word dress slut. The demonstrators chanted a single slogan: “Don’t tell women how to dress, tell men not to rape !”. Which is a way to remind that a victim of a rape must never be held responsible for her mugging. That is a provocative step by a women’s lib movement which aims to arouse public opinion and refresh the ancient struggle for women’s rights.
For Miranda Mammen, student in California, the energy spawned by the movement is beneficial to the cause: “It’s also loud, angry, sexy in a way that going to a community activist meeting often isn’t”. This first slutwalk has been imitated, town after town, mostly owing to social networks where activists come together. At first in Canada and in the USA, then Australia, Argentina, Brazil or South Africa… A wave of global protest which has reached as far as India, although it is regarded to be one of the most backward countries as regards women’s rights.