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SlutWalk protesters gather outside Downing Street

SlutWalk protesters outside Downing Street. Picture: Isabel Infantes SlutWalk protesters outside Downing Street. Picture: Isabel Infantes

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
4:04 PM

A group of women gathered outside Downing Street in their underwear today to protest the way the legal system lets down victims of rape.

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Slutwalk and Women Against Rape joined forces to stage this afternoon’s demonstration, which comes ahead of a march this Saturday in central London. They were calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to ensure the criminal justice system takes rape and sexual assault cases more seriously.

According to the group only seven out of every 100 reported rapists are convicted.

A statement said: “SlutWalk wants justice for the thousands of rape survivors who were told by the police and courts that they were dressed too provocatively, they didn’t scream loudly enough, they were too drunk or too young or too mentally ill to understand what had happened to them, they must have consented because the rapist was their (ex)husband or (ex)boyfriend, they were sex workers and should be prosecuted rather than their attackers, they were asylum seekers and should be sent back to the detention centre or deported...”

This Saturday’s march, which goes from Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square where there will be a rally, is the second in London after one was held last year.

The statement continued: “By marching again this year, we are letting the authorities know that we will not go away until they take rape seriously by thoroughly investigating and prosecuting, so that more rapists are convicted, men generally are discouraged from sexual violence, and women get the safety and justice we deserve. We all have a right to live free from the fear of rape.

“We demand a change in police and prosecution priorities, so more rapists are convicted and we get the safety and justice we deserve. We want the freedom to live without fear of rape.”

The SlutWalk movement started in Toronto, Canada, in 2011 after a policeman told a group of law students that in order to avoid being raped women should not dress provocatively.

Since then thousands of women have taken part in protests and marches in Canada, the United States and Britain.

The SlutWalk march will start at 12.30pm on Saturday at the Hyde Park end of Piccadilly.

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