For Nicole Ouimette and Katt Schott-Mancini, the word “slut” doesn’t have to be negative.
That’s what the two 20-somethings now living in Providence will attempt to prove in Boston next month when they put on Slutwalk 2011.
The movement started in Toronto in response to an officer’s remarks about women being raped.
Ouimette, a survivor of sexual assault, found the remarks offensive and began organizing the Boston event along with her roommate Schott-Mancini.
“We were fed up how rape was being treated in our society and our culture,” Ouimette said.
The women said that the walk is in solidarity with the Toronto rally, but they also want to make people aware of the larger issues of “rape culture” and “slut shaming.”
Slut shaming, they said, is when a woman is put down based on her number of sexual partners.
News of the officer’s comments and the movement has spread rapidly. As of yesterday, more than 500 people said they would attend the walk on the event’s Facebook page. Other walks were planned for Ottawa, Vancouver and Dallas.
The walk will welcome both men and women in any form of clothing.
Schott-Mancini, also a survivor of sexual assault, likened the movement to successful gay rights campaigns of the past.
“It’s like ‘queer’ in the ‘80s,” she said. “That was a derogatory term and it’s almost been reclaimed. In a sense we’re trying to do that with ‘slut.’”
A Toronto police officer sparked a firestorm when he made a comment about women’s attire and rapes while speaking at York University.
The officer prefaced his remarks with “I’ve been told I shouldn’t say this,” and told the women in the audience to avoid “dressing like sluts” if they wanted to be safe from sex assault, according to The Globe and Mail.