BOSTON (AP) — Chanting “We love sluts!” and holding signs like “Jesus loves sluts,” approximately 2,000 protesters marched Saturday around the Boston Common as the city officially became the latest to join an international series of protests known as “SlutWalks.”

The protest movement, sparked by a Toronto police officer’s remark that women could avoid being raped by not dressing like “sluts,” came to Boston after advocates saw similar events — largely organized through Facebook and Twitter — pop up in Canada, England and other parts of the U.S.

“We wanted to do something to show our support,” said Siobhan Connors, 20, of Lynn, Mass., a Boston organizer. “We originally planned for a small event and expected about 30 people.”

But by the time the march began Saturday, about 2,000 people — some dressed in lingerie with the words “slut” written across their stomachs — were in attendance.

Related: WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong spoke with the event’s organizer before the walk

In January, a Toronto police officer told a group of university students that women should avoid dressing like “sluts” to avoid being raped. He later apologized. The officer who made the comments, Constable Michael Sanguinetti, was disciplined but remained on duty, said Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash.

However, advocates in Toronto held a “SlutWalk” to protest the officer’s remarks and to highlight what they saw as problems in blaming sexual assault victims. Since then, SlutWalks, organized mainly through social media, have been held in Dallas, Asheville, N.C., and Ottawa, Ontario. Organizers say the events also were held to bring attention to “slut-shaming,” or shaming women for being sexual, and the treatment of sexual assault victims.

“I had watched the Toronto walk happen from afar,” said Jaclyn Friedman, author of “Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape” and resident of Medford, Mass. “When I heard it was coming to Boston I just emailed the organizers and said, `How can I help?”‘

Organizers invited Friedman to speak. Vanessa White, 33, of Somerville, Mass., also heard about the event through Facebook and showed up for the Boston event dressed in a pink jacket and fishnet stockings.

“For me … it’s an attempt to reclaim the word `slut’ itself,” said White. “Because once you reclaim it, you take the power away from it.”

Before the march, a small group of counter protesters, wearing colorful cowboy hats with feathers and holding a boom box that played hip-hop and 1970s funk, walked around the gathering. Dubbed the “PimpWalk,” organizer Samuel Bilowski, 23, of Salem, N.H., said his group wanted to “get some numbers” and talk to attractive women.

“This is a pathetic attempt at a joke,” admitted Bilowski. “We’re just having fun.”

Still, White and a group of other advocates surrounded Bilowski and his group and yelled the word “slut” repeatedly. Others verbally attacked Bilowski for glorifying violence against women.

Bilowski’s group eventually joined the SlutWalk march around the Common.

Following Boston, SlutWalk marches are planned in cities including Seattle; New York; Chicago; Philadelphia; Reno, Nev.; and Austin, Texas.
(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (7)
  1. Dr says:

    Stupidity abounds, just another collection of Idiots

  2. REDNECK says:


  3. emom says:

    Do these so called wanna be ladies really like calling themselves SL?TS… I have to wonder what they are like… TO walk around and chant WE ARE SL?TS…… LOOK up sl?y in the dictionary… I would post those words BUT the smart filter just would not allow me to…. are these whatcha ma callers for reallll….. stop tramping around……

  4. Ugh says:

    Clearly you all missed the point entirely. Way to go.

  5. Aircore46 says:

    Emom…you have to read past the first paragraph….. you sound ignoroant when you don’t read things all the way before you post.

  6. Matt says:

    Followed by the walk of shame this morning.

  7. Karen says:

    At first I was highly offended by the name of this event, but after reading the purpose behind it I think it’s a great cause. Even though I cringe at the word due to it’s extremely sexist nature, I do agree that women need to stand up against such crude social restrictions on their bodies through terms like that. It’s the latest way to keep women from full control of their bodies and keep them in fear of their sexuality. It definitely has to go, and anyone who isn’t living in the medieval times will agree.

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