Thousands of people gathered Friday morning at Atarim Square, the former home of the infamous Pussycat strip club, for Tel Aviv’s annual SlutWalk, according to feminist organization Kulan’s head Bracha Barad.
Women marched under the title “SlutWalk Tel Aviv: Nothing is an invitation to rape,” holding signs that read, “It is not your fault” and “End femicide,” and chanting “No means no.”
“People have gathered today who believe that it is time to end the culture of blame and start believing victims,” said organizer Barad, who heads Kulan. “We are here to yell for those who did not have a voice and for those who still do not. Nothing is an invitation to rape, and no one is at fault for being hurt.”
Kulan, which translates as the feminine form of “all of them,” is an Israeli movement that promotes feminist discourse and activism.
SlutWalk is a transnational movement that started in 2011 when a Canadian police officer said that women “should avoid dressing like sluts” if they did not want to be victims of sexual violence. Women gather for SlutWalks worldwide to protest this perception that a woman’s actions are the cause of violence against her.
Participants in the demonstrations often dress in clothing that may be labeled revealing or “slutty” and “provocative” by some, and event organizers emphasize that there is no dress code.
SlutWalk protesters chanting on the streets of Tel Aviv. (Credit: KULAN)
“Yarin Sherf, Eyal Golan, Moshe Ivgi, Shai Avital. The names change but the motif is the same: Someone with too much power who abuses it,” said protest organizers.
“An environment that allows for the treatment of women as objects, silencing and blaming of victims, and a helpless legal system,” is what enables sexual violence to run rampant in Israel, organizers said. “In order for a victim of sexual violence to have the power to reveal themself and complain, the public must stop looking at what she was wearing and how many men she has been with and start looking at the offender.
“We will not continue to allow violence, because no one is at fault for being hurt and every woman can live the way she chooses, wearing any clothing that she wants without fear of being raped or of her clothes being called an invitation for rape,” they said.
“The SlutWalk is our holiday. Together we make the harm done to us into power and change reality.”
This year, the march’s end point was a feminist fair at Habima Square, in which many feminist organizations took part, including, among others, The Women’s Lobby, Women Lawyers for Social Justice, El HaLev, the Tel Aviv Sexual Assault Crisis Center.