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On air at 1700GMT: 'SlutWalks': Was the Toronto police officer right?

WHYS Team WHYS Team | 13:53 UK time, Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Canadian protesters taking part in a 'SlutWalk'

This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 10 May 2011. Listen to the programme.

A new protest movement sparked by policeman Michael Sanguinetti's advice to women students to "avoid dressing like sluts" to stay safe on the streets has taken off in the US and Canada.

Thousands of people are taking part in marches, or 'SlutWalks', whose aim, organisers say, is to highlight a culture in which the victim rather than rapist or abuser is blamed.

Some 3,000 people took part in the first "SlutWalk" in Toronto last month. The SlutWalk Toronto website said the aim of the movement is to "re-appropriate" the world slut.

A march took place in Boston on Saturday, whilst other cities in the States and in Argentina, Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Sweden have hosted the protests.

A march is planned for London next month, and 'SlutWalks' a growing movement online.

Sam Adams 76 posts on Free Republic.comSo now we have yet another class of victim - women who dress like sluts and are apparently upset because some guys are not acting like gentlemen around them and are not treating them with the proper decorum and respect. This "movement" also insults the victims of rape. Most rape victims are not "sluts" and would never walk the streets of Boston in fishnet stockings and bras.

From patman023.wordpress.comWhat matters is that every woman, from a street sex worker to a Member of Parliament, has the right to safe public space and the right to withdraw consent at any point without fear of violence, no matter how she dressed, no matter her history, no matter her reputation. Every woman has the right to say no. Even "sluts". And I think that Edmonton SlutWalk will be a positive contribution toward this conversation.

But Gail Dines and Wendy J Murphy write that SlutWalk is not sexual liberation. Women need to take to the streets to condemn violence, but not for the right to be called 'slut'.

Does the Toronto police officer have a point, or should women have the right to wear whatever they want? And are 'SlutWalks' the right way to go about sending out the message that victims of sexual asault should never be blamed for what happens to them? What do you think?

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