It’s not often used as a compliment. But an international annual event called SlutWalk is reclaiming the word to unite women instead of divide. SlutWalk is a movement of all types of people fighting for gender equality and the end of rape culture, victim-blaming, slut-shaming and body-shaming along with other social justice issues. It started in Toronto after a police officer told women at York University to avoid “dressing like sluts” if they didn’t want to get raped, and exploded into a worldwide movement.
We resonate with the mission of SlutWalk to amplify the voices of marginalized groups and both have a strong desire to find common ground within our communities. We spoke with the organiser, Angie Ng, to learn more about the sluttiest event in town.
Why do we need a SlutWalk in Hong Kong?
It sometimes surprises people to find out that Hong Kong is still a sexually conservative place in which women are judged harshly for their sexual choices and histories. Sexual violence and victim blaming exist in Hong Kong, just as they do in other cities around the world.
What are the biggest hurdles you and SlutWalk face?
One of the biggest hurdles I faced was misconceptions about the movement.
Do you think the name of it turns people away?
Some people imagine that people who attend SlutWalk are all “sluts” or victims of sexual violence, or that SlutWalk is about telling women to wear “sexy” clothing and be “sluts.” In reality, SlutWalk has always been about how women should not be blamed when they experience sexual violence, no matter what they were wearing, who they were talking to, if they were walking home late, etc. We challenge people to reflect on the term “slut” and what it means. In fact, it is just a label used to divide women into “us” and “them,” stigmatising women who do not follow society’s standards.
How does SlutWalk pick up where #MeToo left off?
SlutWalk aims to raise awareness about sexual violence and victim blaming. This includes rape myths, such as that sexual assault only happens to other people, not us or people we know. Another example is that sexual assault doesn’t happen in my city. #MeToo has helped shatter those rape myths, for some of us. #MeToo has the potential to get a lot bigger in Hong Kong and other places, but a victim blaming environment is slowing it down. This year, some of us will also be carrying #MeToo posters.
What accomplishments have you seen since last year’s SlutWalk?
Every year we march, we touch a different group of students, journalists, volunteers and supporters, and I’m happy to say that more people have come to understand sexual violence and victim blaming.
I recently read some Hong Kong news, in which a defendant tried to blame the victim for dressing “sexy,” and the judge replied that he was insulting all women by saying that. I’m not saying the judge was affected by SlutWalk, but I have noticed that more and more people understand the term “victim blaming” now.
If you want to support this movement, join SlutWalk 2017- starting from Chater Garden at 3:30pm on November 19.
More details here: