Protesters marched through the streets of Delhi, India on Sunday, July 31st to take part in the global feminist protest called "SlutWalk." Around 100 men and women gathered together in the streets to protest the idea that "dressing like a slut" is an excuse for rape, sexual assault or harassment.
In India, public sexual taunting or even groping of women is known as "Eve teasing," in reference to the original temptress of the Bible. It's a common occurance in the country, even as many of the young population embrace global cultures and urbanization.
Though the mood was more subdued than other walks - no skimpy clothing, more police and an excess of disapproving onlookers - they still got their point across in hopes of changing the attitudes around rape while reclaiming slut as a positive force.
SlutWalk originated in January 2011 after a Toronto, Canada police officer told a group of students attending a crime-prevention talk:
"Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."
The women around the world that heard about this were none too happy. The officer later apologized, but the damage was done. By early April, the first official SlutWalk filled the streets of Toronto with demonstrators. Since then, protests have been held in Seattle, Boston and Chicago, as well as in Argentina, South Korea, England, Australia, Germany, and Sweden.
About 300 people gathered in Des Moines, Iowa Sunday afternoon in the latest United States SlutWalk. Philadelphia plans to host a walk on August 6th with many more cities and countries joining the ranks in what is becoming a global phenomenon.
Every community wants a chance to voice their opinions, concerns and stories surrounding sexual harassment and assault. Women carry slogans like "my ass is not an excuse to assault," "my short skirt has nothing to do with it," "I have nothing to be ashamed of," "blame the rapist not the victim," and "this is not my 'i want you face.'"
Some women dress in ironically provocative outfits, while others dress down. It really does not matter what you wear, the object of the rallies is to raise sexual assault awareness around the world. These women (and sometimes men) are there to address the victim-blaming that often accompanies rape victims and can shame them into keeping the crime quiet.
Speakers address the crowds and give talks and personal stores of rape and other sexual abuse in the hopes of bringing greater attention to unwanted sexual advances, including rape, in an effort to educate, inform and change minds all over the world.