Thousands join Finnish ‘SlutWalk’

Thousands of people took part in the so-called ‘SlutWalk’ at the weekend in Helsinki, a feminist march aimed at removing the way women dress from the debate about sexual assault.

Police say around 3,500 protesters, some donning platform shoes, bikini tops and fishnets, began the procession from the city’s Kiasma Museum. Similar events in Turku and Tampere also attracted around 1,500 participants.

The idea behind the SlutWalks first originated in Canada in April after a police chief from Toronto told female students to stop dressing “like sluts” if they didn’t want to be victimised by men. The campaign has now spread across the world in the hope of promoting self-determination in women and ensuring that their choice of clothing cannot be made a justification for attacks.

Speaking to YLE, organiser of the Helsinki event, Laura Hallikas, explained that, “Probably nobody would dare to say that it [sexual assault] was your own fault if you wore a miniskirt, but there is an atmosphere in which women are divided into decent women and sluts.” She added that the general power structure of society should be questioned over the victims’, and even the perpetrators’, motivations.