Houston woke up to a parade of fishnets, taped nipples and self-proclaimed sluts Saturday morning. Almost 100 allies and victims of sexual assault snaked through Montrose for SlutWalk, dropping jaws and stopping traffic.
SlutWalk was started in Canada, where a police officer advised a group of college women to stop "dressing like sluts" if they didn't want to be raped. But clothes don't cause rape. As one of the signs said, "Rapists cause rape."
Many at the Montrose walk were survivors of rape. One young woman confined to a wheelchair, who didn't wish to use her name, held a sign that read, "I was a child. My PJs weren't sexy." She said she was raped six years ago and got HIV as a result. Through complications, she also developed cancer. "Life just sucks now," she said.
Darla Lathan, a trans woman, said she hopes people understand that rape is a crime of violence and not sex. "I was sexually assaulted by a bully in preschool and grade school, so I fought back," Lathan said. "I've been fighting back ever since."
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Black-corseted and cat-eared Diane Schluter said that a culture of victim-blaming hurts women, but it's also insulting to men. "It says that men have no self-control whatsoever," she said. "Oh my god, I saw a boobie, I must fuck her! Hell, there are a lot of times I wish I could've compelled a guy to think like that," she laughed. "But that would be just as wrong."
Women aren't the only ones who get raped. Men-sluts were well represented, chafing in leather and chains down Westheimer. A chorus of "Hey, hey, ho, ho! Yes means yes and no means no!" blasted through a megaphone. James Ozarth, shirtless with black Xs taped to his nipples, marched to stop victim blaming. "As far as someone's dressed, that doesn't give anyone the right to consent," he said.
And for one morning-after in Houston, whispers of "She was asking for it" were drowned out by shouts of "No means no."
Feast your eyes on our SlutWalk slideshow here.