By Caitriona Hughes
The ‘SlutWalk’ will grace Irish pavements for the first time this year after Galway students decided to embrace this global movement.
The walk, a demonstration for women’s rights, began in Toronto earlier this year after a Canadian police officer commented on the way in which women dress. He stated that women should not dress like “sluts” to avoid being raped.
Both men and women in the city were shocked by the remarks and chose to express their frustrations in the first ever SlutWalk.
Provocative clothing was worn by the protesters while they marched through the city to criticise how authorities deal with victims of rape.
The Students’ Union of National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) decided that Ireland should have its own SlutWalk after they were inspired by the Toronto protest. The walk will take place between 1pm and 4pm on October 5, during the university’s Equality Week.
William O’ Brien, NUIG’s Equality Officer, posted on Facebook that the SlutWalk has been organised to highlight the idea that a low cut top is “not an invitation to be raped”.
It was established to show that a woman’s dress should not provoke any name calling, sexual attacks or other forms of negative attention. It is being advertised across social media sites using the slogan “Society teaches ‘Don’t get raped’ rather than ‘Don’t Rape’”.
The event is supported by Galway Rape Crisis Centre and The Rape Crisis Network Ireland. A member of staff at the Rape Crisis Network stated that their main concern regarding the SlutWalk is “victim blaming” and opposing it.
“SlutWalk opened up a space for this generation to see consent but we should not focus on the name ‘SlutWalk’, rather that it is a global movement”. A survivor of rape wrote on her blog that she will be attending the protest.
“’SlutWalk’ began because a member of the Toronto Police in Canada remarked that women should avoid dressing like sluts to avoid being sexually assaulted. It’s this kind of narrow minded and frankly stupid remarks that have victims blaming themselves for someone else’s violent acts,” she explained.
SlutWalks have already seen thousands of supporters turning out to march in cities such as Glasgow, Cape Town and Toronto.