Britain has seen its first slutwalks. At the weekend, thousand of women marched through Cardiff, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Glasgow to protest against the idea that women who dress in a provocative or even just modern way are ‘asking’ to be raped and should be held partially responsible.
Slutwalks originated in Toronto a couple of months ago, in response to advice from a police officer who had suggested during a school talk that women should avoid dressing provocatively in order to help themselves escape victimisation. Angry at the idea that women have to dress a certain way or be held partially responsible for being sexually assaulted, thousands of women marched through Canadian cities. And now the craze has caught on over here too.
Aside from the obvious sense of fun, slutwalking has a serious point. There are many people who believe that women who dress a certain way are ‘inviting trouble’. Just a few weeks ago, Britain’s justice secretary Ken Clarke caused controversy by suggesting that there was a difference between ‘date rape’ and ‘serious rape’. Ultimately, the aim of the slutwalkers is to remind everyone that a woman can dress how she likes without being seen to be ‘asking’ to get attacked.