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Women march in bras, lingerie to protest blaming sex assault victims

Saturday - 8/10/2013, 3:45pm  ET

A man with the phrase, 'No means no,' written on his back watches the MMA and Sport instructors demonstrate self-defense moves at Meridian Hill Park on August 10. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
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Women describe their reasons for attending the event

Megan Cloherty, WTOP reporter


WASHINGTON - In the middle of a city park, as rain spits down on them, hundreds of scantily clad women practiced self defense moves Saturday.

Meridian Hill Park in D.C.'s Columbia Heights neighborhood was the end point of a weekend march organized by Slut Walk D.C. to fight the perception that victims of sexual assault are somehow responsible.

Like many women who participated in the Slut Walk, Stephanie Thomas has a personal reason to be here.

"I actually had an incident happen to me in 2007, so I thought it would be good to come here and embrace this experience," Thomas says.

Slut Walk is a national movement protesting the blame victims of sexual violence face because of what they wear, who they associate with or who they are.

"I think everyone here is dressing how they want to dress. Respecting other people is important no matter how you're dressed or how you're acting. No is no," Thomas says.

MMA and Sport teamed up with organizers to offer participants actionable information at the event on how to protect themselves. As pairs in matching bras practiced the moves nearby, Jamya Canty from Baltimore, Md., explained why she drove down to D.C. for this event.

"It's putting in your mind if it really happens to you. Because, I know the move he just showed -- the bear hug -- I had someone to do that to me ...I did that and I ran," Canty says.

After being in a vulnerable position recently, Canty says she sees the value in practicing self defense for every woman.

"It's good because it puts you in the mindset, 'If this is really happening to me, what would I do?'"

At differing levels, sexual assault is an issue women deal with daily, say the organizers of Slut Walk D.C.

Many participants wore lingerie, underwear and some opted to go without clothing to make the point that no matter what they wear, victims of sexual assault are not deserving of the attack because of how they are dressed.