Illustration © Nikki McClure

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Slutwalk Cardiff 2011


When a Toronto police officer suggested that ‘women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised’, he provoked a fierce backlash: ‘SlutWalking’.

This movement began with ‘SlutWalk Toronto’, and a march through the city on 3rd April, 2011. Since then, the SlutWalking movement has gained huge international support, with satellite SlutWalk groups appearing across Canada and the US. It has since spread to the UK and Europe, and now we are bringing it to Cardiff.

We believe that the police officer’s comment is a symptom of a wider culture of victim blaming in cases of sexual assault. A recent study found that almost a third of students in Wales would blame a rape victim if they had been ‘dressed provocatively’. With rape and sexual assault already under-reported crimes, we believe that attitudes like this only serve to shame more victims into silence. This is unacceptable. A person’s clothing does not, under any circumstances, justify their being assaulted.

However, our message does not just concern "provocative clothing". We wish to tackle the wider problem of victim-blaming, no matter what form it takes.

We also recognise that rape and sexual assault do not merely affect women. Although statistically women are most often the targets and men are most often the perpetrators, all genders are affected. We are an inclusive movement, and anyone is welcome to join us on our march as a Slut or an Ally. Our marches are "come-as-you-are" – we are not asking our attendees to dress in any particular way. All we aim for is that people attend and show their support for our cause.

Many people have been questioning the reasoning behind using the term "slut". To quote our friends in Toronto: ‘using a pejorative term to rationalise 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.'

One of the slogans of the original SlutWalk Toronto is ‘because we've had enough’. We agree whole-heartedly with this sentiment. We've had enough of hearing how the clothes we wear justify our being assaulted. We've had enough of being told how not to be attacked, when in reality the message needs to be "do not attack". We've had enough of victim-blaming and hearing phrases such as ‘she was asking for it’ or ‘he had it coming’. Our message is simple: blame the attacker, not the victim.

With serious sexual crime up 6% across England and Wales last year, we need to act now.

To quote the Toronto SlutWalkers: '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. Singles, couples, parents, sisters, brothers, children, friends. Come walk or roll or strut or holler or stomp with us.'


City Hall, Gorsedd GardensCardiff
United Kingdom
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