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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