Back in 2011, while Toronto Police Constable Michael Sanguinetti was addressing the issue of campus rape at a York University he said that women “should avoid dressing like sluts” if they want to avoid sexual harassment. Sanguinetti got international backlash and apologized, but his ignorance on sexual assault and rape culture is common place, igniting Sonya Barnett, who organized the first SlutWalk, citing Sanguinetti as the main reason. The first SlutWalk was held on April 3rd, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Since then, it has developed into a transnational movement of protest marches calling for an end to rape culture, specifically protests against excusing away rape due to the appearance of a woman.
“A lot of things pertaining to SlutWalk happened to me,” Rose said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “I didn’t know how to articulate what was going on and why I was feeling this way. It was because I was sexually assaulted, I had been raped, and I was slut-shamed. I was victim-blamed, as well.”
“A lot of men are learning exactly what consent is,” Rose said. “My SlutWalk is really inclusive, so we don’t leave anyone out. The LGBTQ community, non-binary, transgender, women, men, all walks of life, it doesn’t matter where you come from.”
Unfortunately, sexual harassment and assault happens to all walks of life, and more men have come forward about their own experiences, like former NFL player-turned-actor, Terry Crews. Crews testified to Congress about his own assault by Adam Venit, a former WME agent (Venit has since apologized.) Crews testimony was a powerful symbol in the #MeToo movement, as it shows that it doesn’t matter how looks or how strong they appear to be, sexual assault is about power. SlutWalk works to dispel this mindset and Rose looks forward to progressive.
“We’re just spreading awareness and I think that whether being sexually assaulted or slut-shamed, women in general, we’re just not taking it anymore.
The Amber Rose SlutWalk is happening October 6th in Pershing Square in Los Angeles. Get tickets here.