The movement began on the day that a Canadian police constable made an address at York University in Toronto - the 24th of January, 2011.
A number of rapes had occurred on campus, and Michael Saguinetti was asked to give female students tips that might contribute to their safety. Ten of them showed-up to hear what he had to say.
Which, in part, was this: "You know, I think we're beating around the bush here. I've been told I'm not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."
A cop blaming the victims? Because of the way they chose to dress?
The ladies, quite rightly, were incensed.
They went home and Facebooked, and Tweeted and organized a march of protest. They expected a hundred people to show up.
They got thousands.
Since then, slutwalks...
...as the protests have come to be called
... have been held worldwide.
But nowhere more so than in Brazil where, each year, there are more than fifteen-thousand reported rapes (estupros) and where machismo, in certain regions – and among certain social classes – is rife.
To date, demonstrations have taken place in São Paulo, Vitória, Recife, Fortaleza, Salvador, Goiȃnia, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Curitiba, Pelotas, Florianópolis, Porto Alegre, Santa Maria and Londrina. And plans are underway to hold them in other cities as well.
Portuguese doesn’t permit an exact translation of slut.
So, in Brazil, the protests have come to be known as Marchas das Vadias or Marchas das Vagabundas.
Different words, same expressions of outrage. (This particular sign reads, A crowded bus doesn't give you the right to grope, tight clothing is no excuse for rape.)
Facing discipline by the Toronto Police Department, he issued a statement. It read, in part, "I am embarrassed by the comment I made and it shall not be repeated."
I’ll bet it won’t.
Leighton - Monday