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SlutWalk Guelph rallies against rape culture, victim blaming and slut shaming

Roughly 100 people turn out to Sunday rally in Downtown Guelph
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Take back all the power, not just scraps of it, those attending Sunday's SlutWalk Guelph event were told.

"We're here at SlutWalk to f---in' take back the power," said guest speaker Ruth Neustifter, an associate professor at the University of Guelph and a registered therapist.

SlutWalk Guelph was one of many similar events held across the country to take a stand against rape culture, victim blaming, slut shaming and supporting survivors.

Roughly 100 people turned out under glorious sunny skies to listen to speakers in St. George's Square before parading with signs throughout Downtown Guelph.

"I hope that we are here to remember that it's not enough for us to seize a bit of that power just today. It is not enough to be satisfied with just scraps of power and it's definitely not enough to be happy when we hold a bit more power than yesterday while ignoring those who do not," said Neustifter, making the point that power imbalance in gender, sexuality, and race are all related.

"When we gain the ability to create change we must look around immediately and use it in the service of those who are still suffering the higher cost and consequences. We serve the oppressed among us or else we serve our oppressors," Neustifter said.

The organizers moved the event from Market Square out of respect for the Rogers Hometown Hockey event taking place there.

In addition to Neustifter, speakers included SlutWalk Guelph co-founders Elsa Bagg and Kara Carder, and the three organizers of this year's event, Joycna Kang, Emma Pasianotto and Brittany Cohen.

Carder said she was proud to see others take up the mantle of SlutWalk Guelph after a two-year absence.

"We were upset when we couldn't continue it and we're really glad that everybody could be here today," she told the crowd, which included several men.

SlutWalk started in 2011 in Toronto after a police officer said women needed to stop "dressing like sluts" in order to avoid being victimized.

On Sunday SlutWalks happened in over 250 cities across North America.

"Here we are in 2017, standing together to publicly challenge damaging ideas and join victims and survivors in that they are not alone in this fight. That's what it's always been what this movement has been centred around for us," Bagg said.

"SlutWalk hopes to celebrate sexuality and diversity while also protesting a culture that puts the blame for sexual assaults on victims and survivors," Bagg said.

Kang, one of the three U of G undergraduate students that planned this year's event, read from the work of Toronto poet Rupi Kaur. "We all move forward when we recognize how resilient and striking the women around us are."



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Tony Saxon

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Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 20 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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