Annual Slut Walk: Women protest sexual violence and harassment

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Thousands of women marched in solidarity through the streets of Tel Aviv as they protested sexual violence in an annual Slut Walk.

Some demonstrators were topless while others wore bras or bikini tops as they raised awareness about women’s rights, inequality and crimes against women.

This year’s march also called for an end to victim blaming or shaming in cases of sexual violence, including rape, reports the Mirror.

Slut Walks have been held in cities around the world since they began in Toronto, Canada, after a police officer suggested to university students that women could avoid being sexually assaulted by not dressing like ‘sluts’.

During Friday’s march in Tel Aviv, women carried signs with slogans including ‘Not guilty’, ‘Make love, not rape’ and ‘A thong is not an invitation to rape’, the Times of Israel reported.

Other posters featured images of high-profile men who have been convicted of sexual abuse.

Women wrote the Hebrew word for ‘slut’ or phrases such as ‘No means no’ on their bodies.

Event organiser Bracha Barad told the Jerusalem Post: ’The word ‘slut’ is not just a word intended to humiliate women, it serves society and the system as a justification for rape.’

She added: ‘There is no connection between the victim’s clothing or her sexual past and the attack she has endured. The law and enforcement authorities are quick to grant exemptions to rapists.’

An organiser wrote on an event listing for the Slut Walk: ‘This year, again, many women joined the endless list of victims who were blamed.

‘This year, again, we could not walk the streets in peace, even though the streets are ours as much as they are theirs.

‘This year, again, thy wisteled [sic] at us, honked at us, yelled at us ‘you’re so fine’, ‘man what I’d do to you’, ‘those tits!’, ‘that ass!’.

‘This year, again, our body was considered public property.

This year, again, we could not refuse without being cursed, whatever we did, whatever we wore, whatever we asked or said – they called us ‘slut!’’ The listing added: ‘We will walk together, and shout that out body is not a sexuall [sic] object.

‘We will show them that ‘Slut’ is a name they invented to make us weak, to blame us for the crimes that we are offended by – and we have no intention of accepting it.’

Slut Walks recognise women’s rights – including personal choices and safety – and this year’s events are coinciding with the #MeToo movement.

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