SlutWalk Toronto Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What is SlutWalk?
    SlutWalk is a worldwide movement against victim-blaming, survivor-shaming, and rape culture. Originated in Toronto in 2011, it started as a direct response to a Toronto Police Services officer perpetuating rape myths by stating “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized“. The march and the issues it addresses have struck such a chord that marches have been organized in over 200 communities in North, Central & South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
  • Why do you call your march SlutWalk?
    Initially named “SlutWalk” as a direct response to the police officer’s comment, the name resonated because of a particularly pervasive and insidious form of victim-blaming: shaming the survivor while making assumptions about their sexuality. The term “slut-shaming” was coined to help name and discuss that issue, because of the way so many survivors have been bullied, blamed, and degraded for attacks against them by being called terms such as “slut”.
  • Wouldn’t your movement be a lot more successful if you named it something less insulting, such as “Walk for Dignity”?
    Walks are organized independently by people in their own communities to address the particular issues they face. Some walks have rebranded their marches “Solidarity Walk”, “ConsentFest”, “Walk of No Shame”, and “STRUTWalk”, to name just a few. At SlutWalk Toronto, we absolutely support those decisions, just as we support those who still feel the name “SlutWalk” better addresses the issues they’re trying to bring attention to.
  • Do I have to dress like a slut to attend?
    We do not require a dress code for our marches; we acknowledge that people are bullied, harassed, assaulted and blamed while wearing every kind of clothing. It is up to participants to decide how they want to dress for the march.
  • Your movement is a bad influence because it tells women and girls they should be promiscuous.
    The SlutWalk movement is not about advocating for a particular number of sexual partners or dress codes. It is entirely about holding accountable the only person who is responsible for carrying out a sexual assault: the perpetrator.
  • Do participants have to reclaim the word “slut” to participate?
    In the original march, reappropriation was one of the goals, however at no point have SlutWalk organizers required participants to reappropriate the term “slut” for themselves. After many conversations with folks from different communities that bear disproportionate levels of harm from these words, we now realize that we can better support survivors across diverse communities by keeping our focus on challenging the language. If any folks want to reclaim “slut” on an individual level, we will support them, but our organizing energies will not be focused on that aspect.
  • How do I set up a SlutWalk in my community? Do I need to buy a package or register somewhere?
    To help new groups set up their own marches, we’ve composed the following:
    It doesn’t go into specifics, such as securing permits, because bylaws vary widely from place to place, especially from different countries (even between the US and Canada). There is also a private group set up for organizers to share notes and advice so that we all don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every march.
  • Do you hate men?
    Absolutely not. We acknowledge that men can be survivors of sexual violence and allies in the struggle to end rape culture. We care about and respect men enough to have high expectations of their abilities to value meaningful consent, and work with us to break down rape myths, end victim-blaming, and hold perpetrators of sexual violence 100% accountable for their actions.
  • Are men allowed to attend the march?
    Absolutely. Unlike events like Take Back The Night, we invite men to march beside us.
  • Does your movement discriminate against virgins and celibate folks?
    No, we do not believe in shaming someone for their sexuality or sexual activities, including not participating in sexual activities. Abstaining from sexual activity is nothing to be ashamed of, the same way engaging in consensual sexual activities is nothing to be ashamed of.
  • How can you expect anyone to take you seriously when you strut around wearing nothing and calling yourselves sluts?
    One’s humanity and intrinsic worth is not determined by their clothing, age, race, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, occupation, or class. We support all survivors and push back against the stigmas and myths surrounding sexual violence. We challenge others to have to confront their prejudices and the myths behind them that continue to let perpetrators get away with their crimes.
  • Where is your headquarters located?
    There is no master headquarters for SlutWalk Toronto. We are not a registered charity or NGO. We are simply a collection of volunteers from the GTA who also attend school and/or work full-time. The funds we raise go right back into organizing events, paying honorariums for speakers, and go into donations for non-profits that we support.


Facts and studies about abuse, harassment, and sexual violence:

  • In 2009, close to 67,000 or 13% of all Aboriginal women aged 15 and older living in the provinces stated that they had been violently victimized. Aboriginal women reported experiencing close to 138,000 incidents of violence and were almost three times more likely than non-Aboriginal women to report having been a victim of a violent crime. This was true regardless if the violence occurred between strangers or acquaintances, or within a spousal relationship 1
  • Young women from marginalized racial, sexual and socioeconomic groups are more vulnerable to being targeted for sexual harassment and sexual assault 2
  • Girls and young women living with disabilities experience violence at a rate that is four times the national average 3
  • Youth under 18 represented 22% of the Canadian population in 2004 but made up 58% of victims of sexual offences.  For males, being under 12 years old heightens their vulnerability to sexual offences 4
  • Gay and lesbian individuals experience violent victimization (sexual assault, robbery, and physical assault) at a rate 2.5 times higher than heterosexual individuals. The rate of victimization for bisexual individuals is approximately 4 times higher than the rate of victimization for heterosexual individuals 5
  • Harassment and assault of trans students is a serious issue in Canadian schools;78% of trans students felt unsafe at school, with 44% having missed school because of these feelings; 74% of trans students have been verbally harassed because of their gender expression; 49% of trans students have been sexually harassed in school within the past year; and 37% of trans students have been physically harassed or assaulted because of their gender expression


  1. Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2009
  2. Wolfe and Chiodo, CAMH, 2008, p. 3.
  3. S. Razack, “From Consent to Responsibility, From Pity to Respect: Subtexts in Cases of Sexual Violence Involving Girls and Women with Developmental Disabilities,” Law and Social Inquiry, 1994: p. 900
  4. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006, Statistics Canada
  5. Beauchamp, D. (2008). Sexual Orientation and Victimization 2004. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.
  6. Taylor, C. & Peter, T., with McMinn, T.L., Elliott, T., Beldom, S., Ferry, A., Gross, Z., Paquin, S., & Schachter, K. (2011). Every class in every school: The first national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Canadian schools. Final report. Toronto, ON: Egale Canada Human Rights Trust.