Hundreds March Against Sexual Assault In 'SlutWalk' SlutWalks began in April when a Toronto police officer suggested women should "avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized." So far, thousands of protesters have participated in demonstrations in Ottawa, Dallas, Boston, London and several other cities. Women — and men — are protesting a culture of sexual assault where victims are blamed for the crime.
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Hundreds March Against Sexual Assault In 'SlutWalk'

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Hundreds March Against Sexual Assault In 'SlutWalk'

Hundreds March Against Sexual Assault In 'SlutWalk'

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michele Norris.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

For the view from Seattle, here's Vanessa Romo of member station KPLU.

VANESSA ROMO: Hundreds of women in skimpy outfits - we're talking plunging necklines and the shortest of shorts - disregarded the overcast, 60-degree weather and marched down the streets of Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.

U: The outfit is a tiny, tiny bikini, string bikini.

U: A red dress that has an over black lace thing.

U: Hot pink leopard-print halter top, garters and...

U: Vinyl platform boots, a very small green micro mini, a leather belt with pockets, and a vinyl bikini top with a veil of glittery camouflage print.

ROMO: Protester Monica Thomas explained why she came out for the walk.

NORRIS: I don't believe that how a woman dresses dictates whether or not they want to be raped. No one wants to be raped. And no one deserves to be treated that way.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

U: (Chanting) When people are raped, what do we do? Stand up, fight back.

ROMO: From afar, the protest could be mistaken for a Mardi Gras celebration. But behind the garter belts and bustiers are stories like Jessi Murray's

NORRIS: I was a nerd, never been kissed.

ROMO: Murray is one of the organizers of the Seattle Slut Walk. She says on her 18th birthday she visited MIT as an accepted student.

NORRIS: At that point, I had, you know, recently lost a lot of weight, was actually looking pretty cute, but I hadn't really been used to the idea of guys being into me. And it happened that I was assaulted that night. And I ended up blaming myself, and I thought I must be a slut.

ROMO: Murray says this march is for women like her, who were shamed into feeling responsible for their own abuse. And she says it's about reclaiming the word slut.

NORRIS: Along the lines of how a guy might refer to himself as a stud. A woman never says she's a stud. But maybe, you know, I'm a slut. And again, it's not - for some people it's a really uncomfortable term, but I think it's one we need to take the negative power away from.

NORRIS: I still have mixed feelings about the way some people are dressing up. And it seems like an excuse to just dress slutty.

ROMO: Catherine Sharpe is one many women at the rally who are uncomfortable with the I'm-a-slut protest signs and general chest-beating on display. She's dressed in a hoodie, jeans and sneakers. There's a topless 22-year-old in pasties nearby.

NORRIS: But then again, I am kind of mad at myself for thinking that because I really feel like women should be able to wear whatever they want to, whenever they want to. And it's never an excuse for sexual assault or harassment.

ROMO: For NPR News, I'm Vanessa Romo in Seattle.

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