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Slut Walk Inspires Events in U.S., London

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from www.edmonton.ctv.ca – A Toronto police officer who suggested that women shouldn’t dress like “sluts” if they wanted to avoid being raped or assaulted, has sparked a number of international protest marches.

The officer made the remarks in January at York University’s Osgoode Hall, telling a group of students at an information session that not dressing like a slut was one way to avoid being assaulted.

The comments triggered a so-called Slut Walk at Queen’s Park in Toronto that attracted thousands of participants.

Organizers argued that no one should be blamed for a rape or sexual assault committed against them, regardless of what they wear or how they act.

The movement has now spread to the U.S. and England, with similar events planned for Boston on Saturday and London on June 4.

“This is a walk to protest both slut-shaming and rape culture. It’s a walk to take back the word SLUT in order to show that the nature of your being is not determined by how many sexual partners you have,” says the website for Boston Slutwalk, which claims the event was inspired by the Toronto march.

In addition to the walk through downtown Boston, the event also includes workshops on the power of language, partner violence, men’s role in preventing rape and sexual assault and something called “SlutStyles (on polyamory and non-monogamy).”

Organizers of SlutWalk London also credit the Toronto event as providing their inspiration.

On their website, organizers describe themselves as “a group of people who will be marching, stamping, rolling, shouting and hollering through the streets of London on Saturday, 4th June, to tell the world that rape is never, ever the fault of the victim – no matter WHAT they were wearing!”

The website invites people of all genders, races, ages, religions and sexualities to take part and “show the world that SLUT is something to be proud of.”

Other events are planned this summer for cities across the U.S., including Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Reno, Nev. and Austin, Tx.

In Toronto both women and men took part in the Slut Walk event, with participants wearing everything from normal street clothes to much more provocative outfits — or lack thereof.

Some danced, others wore T-shirts emblazoned with the word “slut” while many carried placards that said “sluts pay taxes.” A number of men also took part, some wearing shirts that said “I love sluts.”

The officer who made the comments in Toronto, Const. Michael Sanguinetti, was disciplined but still remains on duty.

Mark Pugash, a spokesperson for the Toronto Police, said the comments “were completely unacceptable and did not reflect the way the TPS trains and teaches its officers.”

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