Slut Walks Turn Tables

Article excerpt

What did I wear to Vancouver's SlutWalk in May? Like many Vancouverites, I rolled out of bed, sawthat it was wet and grey outside, and pulled on my rain boots and raincoat.

I was not the only one who decided to dress warmly for the weather. Except for the brave few who dared to bare skin to demonstrate that no manner of dress is an invitation for rape, the majority of us were bundled up.

However, an earlier estimate of 1,500 participants swelled to more than 2,000 as the march took off - showing that a little rain did not keep Vancouver from taking a stand against sexual violence and victim-blaming.

"Since 2008, rates of sexual assault in Vancouver have skyrocketed," said SlutWalk Vancouver organizer Katie Raso as she rallied the crowd. "We a re here to say that no matter where we go, and no matter what we wear, yes means yes and no always means no."

As we marched to the beats of a Balkan brass band and an Aboriginal drum group, a young man strode along in a short skirt and four-inch leopard-print stilettos.

"It's myfirsttime in heels," said Billy Taylor, "but I brought my sneakers in case I can't make it the whole way."

Diversity surrounded me. There were parents pushing strollers, hockey fans strutting around in Vancouver Canucks hockey jerseys, a roller derby crew, kids running around and almost half of the participants were men.

Male protesters carried signs saying, "Bought Her Dinner? She Doesn't Owe You Anything" and "Real Men Take No for An Answer."

SlutWalk Vancouver is part of a grassroots movement that is spreading around the world. More than 60 other similar protests have been held already or will take place soon in cities including London, New York, Johannesburg and Dublin.

Itali started in Toronto at York University. On January 24, Toronto police Const. …