It’s a term easily thrown around by people both young and old, female and male. It’s a derogatory term used to shame women and girls for having sex and for showing what is deemed to be too much skin.
So why is there an annual, international anti-sexual assault march called “Slutwalk”?
The very first Slutwalk was born in Toronto, Canada, in 2011. In January that year, a Toronto police constable told a group of law students in a safety forum that, to prevent getting sexually assaulted, they should “avoid dressing like sluts”.
Slutwalk founders Heather Jarvis and Sonya Barnett, outraged at the constable’s comments, organised the first march in Toronto with the goal of changing mainstream rape culture: they believe that the dialogue surrounding rape should focus on the perpetrator, not the victim.
“The idea that there is some aesthetic that attracts sexual assault or even keeps you safe from sexual assault is inaccurate, ineffective and even dangerous,” Jarvis told the Huffington Post.
Now, the movement has taken hold around the world, and every year different cities organise their own marches. Surprisingly for a place not exactly known for its sexually-liberated residents, Hong Kong has its own—admittedly small—Slutwalk every year.
As laughable as the Canadian officer’s words may seem, such victim-blaming attitudes are unfortunately more mainstream than people realise, whether in North America or Asia.
In May 2013 Lai Tung-kwok, the Hong Kong secretary for security, said he would “appeal that young ladies should not drink too much”, after revealing that rape cases had gone up 60 percent that quarter.
Yup. He said that.
Despite the fact that he himself said that all the rape cases involved people “who know each other”—“friends, close friends, or [people] they met a few hours ago”—he chose to place responsibility on women who should control their drinking instead of, oh, you know, blaming people who choose to rape their friends.
This year’s Hong Kong Slutwalk will be focused on the reports of anti-Occupiers using sexual assault as a tactic to scare female pro-democracy protesters in Causeway Bay and Mong Kok
Check out the Coconuts TV video about it:
That’s messed up.
So wear whatever the fuck you want this Sunday—whether you’re male, female, or anything in between—and wear it proudly as you march against sexual assault and victim-blaming in Hong Kong.
When: Meeting at 2pm this Sunday
More info: Facebook
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