Holly Weir, centre, a third-year social work student at UBC Okanagan, holds a sign at the corner of Pandosy Street and Leon Avenue in downtown Kelowna on Friday afternoon during what organizer Karyn Giesbrecht called a Slut Walk. More than two dozen people took part in the event, organized to raise awareness of rape and to coincide with International Women's Day.
Giesbrecht organized Friday's Slut Walk in downtown Kelowna to coincide with International Women's Day and as a third-year UBC Okanagan social work project to raise awareness of rape.
Hall, one of her classmates, also walked with the more than 20 women and a half-dozen men starting from the notorious sex worker hangout at Lawrence Avenue and Bertram Street across to Harvey Avenue and then to the E. Fry Society office.
Giesbrecht told The Okanagan Saturday she knows several women who were raped, but that the story with the most impact is of a close friend who believes she was sexually assaulted on the UBCO campus.
"The police officer told her that (the man couldn't be charged) because she was so drunk she couldn't remember the evening," said Giesbrecht. "The guy that did it was able to fill in the blanks and said that she consented. She doesn't feel like she consented.
"I'm going to try to make it through the day without crying."
"Of course, I want to support Karyn, but I am also one of the statistics - one in three women that have experienced rape in their lifetime," said Hall.
"I think it's really important that women are aware that there is no shame in it," Hall said. "They are survivors of an assault and they are not to be blamed. The blame needs to be put on the perpetrator of the crime."
She was impressed by the number of women who supported Friday's Slut Walk.
"I think it's amazing that all these young women are coming together and taking back their power," said Hall. "It's not about how you dress; it's about the behaviour of a gentleman. I believe that all men can control themselves. Not all men choose to."
"Our professor told us to organize a social action and make it uncomfortable, so I'm doing public speaking about a controversial topic," added Giesbrecht, explaining her other reason for the walk.
"What we're hoping is that people will understand that it's not the woman's fault when she gets raped. If she's wearing a slutty outfit or she's drunk or she was flirting with a guy all night, it wasn't her; it was him. He did it, and to say that she was asking for it is completely wrong."