Seldom has an offhand Neanderthal comment from a single policeman had such widespread impact. In January, while addressing a group of York University students, a Toronto, Canada, cop dropped the opinion that women could avoid being raped by not dressing like "sluts."
The officer's audience felt that his comment reflected a pervasive attitude in a justice system that, the women contend, blames rape survivors for having been attacked. In response, thousands of women convened upon Toronto's Queens Park on Sunday, April 3, dressed in heels, fishnets and short skirts, marching upon police headquarters in the world's first "Slutwalk."
The concept—that police and the justice system are obligated to protect and uphold the right of women to dress as they please without fear of sexual assault, and that women should not be treated by police or the justice system as complicit in rape—has spread globally, cropping up this weekend in Seoul, South Korea.
While some women have expressed skepticism at the Slutwalk tactic, none have stepped forward to disagree with Sierra Chevy Harris. A student at the University of Guelph, and a participant at the inaugural Slutwalk, Harris said: “We need to criticize the people who are actually committing the crimes.”