Illustration © Nikki McClure

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Slutwalk Ottawa 2011


10th April 2011

Slutwalk Ottawa (SWO) aims to provide a voice and save space for victims in an ongoing effort to address victim-blaming and other aspects of rape culture. SWO uses an intersectional, anti-oppression framework to educate about institutionalized violence and the tribulations faced by victims of sexual assault, with a focus on marginalized communities.

At the annual march, we aim to raise awareness on the issues faced by victims of sexual assault, and work year-round towards holding perpetrators accountable for their actions and to end a culture of victim blaming. We focus on the long term negative impacts on victims’ lives and the community as a whole with respect to harms caused by lack of societal protection and systemic institutionalization of sexual violence. We aim to create a culture in which all individuals are able to feel safe in their own spaces and communities.

By now you may know of the 2011 incident where a police officer in Toronto said that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized". The reaction in Toronto was the first Slutwalk, and it has now gained traction worldwide. Ottawa's first Slutwalk took place in April 2011. In these past years, we have grown into a wider movement, both locally and in the international community, that addresses survivor-shaming, victim-blaming, and rape culture as a whole.

SWO operates in solidarity with queer communities, sex workers, indigenous populations, and all individuals who have experienced sexual violence.

We acknowledge that we are organizing on unceded, unsurrendered Algonquin land.


Some communities have adapted the names of their movements to suit their concerns, including "Walk of No Shame" and "STRUTWalk". These decisions are legitimate and completely valid.

The name "Slutwalk" branches off the direct reaction to the comments made in Toronto in 2011. It also addresses the fact that women are shamed for being 'sluts'. This has in turn helped coin the term 'slut-shaming', which encompasses the way victims of sexual assault are shamed for their sexual activity. The idea here is to stop blaming victims of sexual assault for how they dress or how they act, and hold perpetrators accountable to their actions; at the end of the day, the cause of sexual assault is not how much skin one is showing -- it's that an aggressor chose to assault someone.

A common misconception is that Slutwalks all over the world shame those who abstain from sexual activity. The aim of SWO is to operate in a sex-positive manner, which means embodying the message that an individual's level of sexual activity, whether it is high or low or nonexistent, should not be shamed.


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