'I Believe You': Thousands March in Tel Aviv SlutWalk

'The bigger the march the more awareness we can raise, and change will follow,' said one of the protesters

Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg
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The SlutWalk in Tel Aviv, on Friday.
The SlutWalk in Tel Aviv, on Friday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

About 2,000 participants marched in the SlutWalk in Tel Aviv on Friday, protesting sexual violence and victim-blaming. 

Participants shouted slogans such as: “I believe you,” while carrying signs with pictures of sex offenders and major streets across the city were blocked as demonstrators made their way to the main rally at Habima Square.

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Last year’s rally was canceled due to coronavirus restrictions, however, this year the march went ahead as planned as current measures allowed it.

This was the ninth SlutWalk in Tel Aviv and similar marches in Haifa and Jerusalem have also taken place in recent years.

The crowd consisted of many young people and youth movement members. “This March is very important to me and to every woman,” said Rachel, a 15-year-old who lives in northern Israel and came to the march for the first time.

“One out of every one woman experiences sexual harassment. I also suffered it, and as someone who knows how hard it is, I want to speak out for others and for myself to send a message,” she added.

“I know many girls who were attacked," said Omer, also 15, adding that "the bigger the march the more awareness we can raise, and change will follow."

The Together Kulan feminist movement has organized the SlutWalk for the past several years. Kulan organizes public protests against victim-blaming and wishes to echo sexual violence victims testimonies.

Bracha Barad, Kulan’s director, said that “there are tons of girls and boys here who understand that every victim of sexual violence suffers blame from those who doubt her motives and are critical of what she did in her life prior to being attacked. We are here.”

“We will shout for the victims of sexual violence so that they will remember that it is not the fault of the police or the courts or the media but rather everyone together," Barad added.

"It’s the public that doesn’t support victims sufficiently, and we need to change perspectives. The next generation is changing that perspective. I hope that our world will change with them.”

SlutWalk rallies began in Toronto in 2011 in response to a local policeman who said that in order to avoid rape women should not “dress like sluts.”

This led to a widespread international movement against placing the blame on rape victims. Since then, there have been protests across the globe, including the United States, India and European countries. Rallies have been held in several Israeli cities, including Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, since 2012.

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