Organisers aiming to treble number as Slutwalk returns

THE controversial “Slutwalk” is set to take over the streets of the Capital for the second year running, after organisers said they expected more than 1000 people to take part.

Originally set up as a way of raising the issues surrounding consent in rape cases, the first Edinburgh walk took place on June 18 last year and saw roughly 300 women and men take to the streets waving placards with messages such as “Clothes have nothing to do with consent”, “You know when I’m asking for it – I ask for it” and “No means no, no matter what I’m wearing”.

This year they expect the numbers to swell for the march, which will take to the streets of the city next month.

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Nicolle McSaveney, one of the organisers, said: “We would like to at least double last year’s numbers, but we hope we could get as many as 1000.

“We’re starting at West Parliament Square and we’re going to walk down to the Scottish Parliament, where we will have people giving speeches about their experience of rape and sexual abuse.

“The purpose of the walk is to raise awareness of today’s rape culture and victim-blaming. We want to teach people it is never the survivor’s fault.”

The walk was first launched last year in Toronto, Canada, in response to comments made by police officer Constable Michael Sanguinetti, who told a seminar on crime prevention: “Women shouldn’t dress like ‘sluts’ if they wanted to avoid sexual assault.”

Many argued his words were indicative of an endemic culture of victim-blaming within society on the issue of rape and sexual assault.

Edinburgh organisers said that before this year’s walk has even happened there have been plenty of reactions illustrating just how necessary this message is.

Nicolle said: “We have heard from some people who don’t agree with what we’re doing, and who do believe that women ‘ask’ to be raped.

“It just proves our point that attitudes need to change.”

She added: “We’ve also had people making abusive comments on our Facebook page.

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“Though some of them are probably just trying to get a reaction, some of them do genuinely seem to think that some women ‘deserve’ to be raped. The comments were also very upsetting for some of our members, many of whom have been raped or sexually assaulted.”

The Edinburgh Slutwalk is being held on Saturday, July 7, and starts at 1.30pm

Divided opinions

THE SlutWalk movement came under fire from anti-violence campaigners in the Evening News last year.

Jenny Kemp, co-ordinator of Zero Tolerance, said the march could damage the cause it sought to promote.

Writing in the News, she said: “In a deeply sexist society, media coverage of women in their underwear fighting for the right to look and do and say as they please is prone to misinterpretation by those who are shamefully ready to blame victims – the majority who believe that some women are partially to blame if they are raped.”