Some 2,000 protesters marched in Boston chanting "We love sluts!" as the US city joined 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.
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?'"