Organisers of India’s first “Slut Walk” have changed the name of the event and toned down its dress code because of concern the protest is too provocative, media reports said on Friday.
“Slut Walks,” which have become a global phenomenon to protest against sexual violence, see women dress in skimpy clothing to challenge the mindset that victims of sexual assault should be blamed for the crime against them.
“We changed the name after a group meeting,” Umang Sabarwal, one of the chief organisers, was quoted as saying by the Mail Today newspaper on Friday.
“Not all people in Delhi will understand the meaning of ‘slut’. So after a lot of debate and discussion, we have finally zeroed in on ‘Besharmi Morcha’ (Shameless Front).
“This way, more people in India will understand the real concept,” added Sabharwal, a journalism student.
The Facebook page for the event, which has been postponed from this weekend to late July, has already attracted support from 17,000 people.
Another report in the daily Hindustan Times said “sensible dressing” will be the order of the day instead of the earlier idea that encouraged short skirts and hotpants.
“Our struggle does not start when we step out in revealing clothes, it starts right from the time we’re born,” the paper quoted co-organiser Preetika Nanda as saying.
“Girls get molested in salwar kameez (traditional Indian dress) too.”
The new dress code found support from Bollywood actor Gul Panag, who has starred in a film about sexual harassment.
“Women here get raped when they wear saris and suits, so there’s no need to wear skimpy clothes,” Panag was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.
The first “Slut Walk” was held in Toronto this year after a police officer caused outrage by stating during a speech to university students that women should avoid “dressing like sluts” in order not to be victimised.
The protest soon spread to more than 60 cities where women joined in huge numbers