It all started with some ill-considered advice from a Toronto policeman. To prevent rape, he told a group of law students, “Avoid dressing like sluts.” That gaffe sparked a head-turning wave of protests dubbed “SlutWalks” in cities across Canada, in which women—some dressed in plain old jeans and t-shirts, others showing more skin than is practical in Canada—took to the streets to decry victim-blaming and slut-shaming.
“We had just had enough,” says Heather Jarvis, founder of SlutWalk Toronto. Now, the Huffington Post reports, the phenomenon has gone global, spreading virally to Europe, Asia, Australia, and the US. Most major US cities have or will have SlutWalks—Boston, Dallas, Hartford, Asheville, and Rochester will hold walks between now and May 7. “It isn’t about just one idea or one police officer,” says Jarvis. “It’s about changing the system.”