Blog Series

A report from SWTO 2014: Part 1

September 11th, 2014     by Jackie Mlotek     Comments

Illustration: Erin McPhee

SlutWalk Toronto, also known this year as SWTO 2014, took place on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon in July.

While there, I asked some folks about why they were marching and I got some amazing responses.

One person I talked to said, “There is a lot of slut shaming and I want to march against it.” This reasoning was there for so many people, and it’s easy to see why. Slut shaming or victim blaming is a prevalent phenomenon, a fact echoed with this response: “I’m marching because sexual assault is never the victim’s fault, and in support of Jada.” Jada, a 16 year old from Texas, was sexually assaulted. Images from the attack were then shared over social media. Thankfully, there is always resistance and remembrance, which is why events like SWTO are so important.

Every single person I talked to wanted to end victim blaming and slut shaming.

One person I spoke to right at the beginning of the march told me that they are a survivor, and are protesting against the fact that 1 in 2 bisexual women experience sexual violence.

Other people I spoke with said they were marching…

“To support people who work in sex work because sex is not something to be ashamed of; people who work in sex work or enjoy sex are not sinners and we need to end the shame.”

“[Because] I work at a women’s hospital, I’m a survivor, and wants to be safe and for others to be safe.”

“[Because] I dated a guy for 2 years, lived with him, and survived assault and I want to live in a world where how you dress is a choice you can make without any repercussions.”

“[Because] I was disappointed with the lack of intersectionality in the past, but really happy to see the turn out this year.”

“[Because] Rape gets swept under the carpet, lots of people don’t even realize it’s an issue.”

“[Because] Any kind of sexual harassment is about power, even in the winter people get harassed so it isn’t all about clothes. I want to walk for the people I know who are survivors and for those who haven’t told anyone.”

I talked to all these incredible people mostly before and during the march, until we reached Queen’s Park and listened to some speakers.

Tomorrow we’ll be sharing Part 2 of Jackie’s report from this year’s SWTO.

Tags: activist report, body politics

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