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Thousands turn out for Australian 'SlutWalk'

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1 Thousands turn out for Australian 'SlutWalk' on Sun May 29, 2011 4:32 pm

hatien


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SYDNEY (AFP) – Thousands of people turned out for Australia's first "SlutWalk" on Saturday, organisers said, protesting for women to be able to wear whatever they like without fear of being sexually assaulted.

SlutWalk began in Canada in April after a Toronto police official said that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised".

Australian Lauren Clair, one of the organisers of the Melbourne event, said about 2,500 people showed up to march through the city's streets.

"I think that's because it's a global issue, it's not just something that happens in Canada; it's something we see in our society every day of our lives," Clair, 27, told AFP.

While women were often judged on how they dressed, it was wrong to suggest that only those who wore provocative clothes were the victims of sexual assault, she added.

"It's a big myth that women can protect themselves against sexual assault and rape by dressing modestly," she said.

Clair said the majority of marchers chanting slogans such as "However we dress, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no" were women, but there were all genders in the crowd.

"Yes, there was anger and frustration that we still live in a culture where this is permitted," she said, adding there was also joy, and a sense of empowerment.

SlutWalks have already spread to the United States, and thousands registered for events in Australia after notices were posted on Facebook earlier this month.

Prior to the Melbourne event, Clair had said she was keen to reclaim the word "slut" as a source of pride, not shame.

"I've spent my entire life being judged for my appearance and sexuality. I'm sexual, I have sex, I enjoy sex. I'm not going to be ashamed," she told Fairfax newspapers.

SlutWalks in Sydney and Adelaide are planned for next month.

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