Slut Walk in Toronto

It’s awesome when somebody’s dumbassery leads people to come together and address an issue so loudly that the good drowns out the original bad.

Last January, a police officer was doing a sexual assault prevention training at York University in Toronto and opined that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” In protest of this blatant police sanction of rape culture (1),  around 2000 people turned out on the streets of Toronto on April 3rd for the Slut Walk, declaring the right of everyone to physical safety, sexual self-determination, and justice when that safety is violated.

It’s a truism that society and law enforcement at various levels likes to blame rape victims for crime perpetrated against them.  Perhaps among the saddest examples of this are the responses to the gang rape of an eleven year old that happened last fall.  The news of the crime broke when the suspects were  arrested in March.  The supposedly-progressive New York Times published an article which emphasized the ‘inappropriate’ way in which the victim sometimes dressed.  After that, Florida Republican representative Kathleen Passidomo blamed the girl’s attire for the crime in order to make an arguement for school uniforms.  Equally disturbing is that she characterized the girl’s dress as that of  “a 21-year old prostitute.”  Well guess what, Ms. Passidomo:  21-year old prostitutes have a right to the integrity and security of their bodies — and so do children.

It’s painful to think that many of our lawmakers don’t seem to have the first clue as to the meaning of the individual’s dignity or of  human rights.  Evidently, all it takes is a mini skirt or a few drinks in order to forfeit them completely.  In the case of journalist Laura Logan’s rape in Egypt, just doing her job while being  a woman was enough for some people to think that she was ‘asking for it.’

Slut Walk organizers had two main goals in mind.  One was to declare that no one deserves to be raped, ever and that all sexual assault victims deserve justice.  The second was to re-claim the word ‘slut,’ in an attempt to demarginalize people whose sexuality falls outside of socially-accepted norms.

The Slut Walk concept has taken hold and there are Slut Walks scheduled all over Canada  and in Boston this year.

Does St. Louis need to bring the Slut Walk a little further south?

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(1) The officer did make an apology, however  his remarks suggest that this thinking is part of the police department’s educational curriculum and how officers are encouraged to think about sexual assault.  The apology needs to be the beginning of  changes in the way the Toronto police deal with sexual assault.

 

 

Posted in Anna, politics.

4 Comments

  1. Sadly, I have more than a few friends that have been raped. I think a St. Louis Slutwalk would be a fantastic thing.

  2. *Fist pumps* HELL YES! I remember hearing about that dumbass NY Times article. It REALLY pissed me off.

    I am COMPLETELY in support of a Saint Louis Slut Walk

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