After Toronto police constable Michael Sanguinetti made remarks to a group of law students stating the key to avoiding rape is to “Avoid dressing like sluts,” activists decided enough was enough and took action.
What started as a protest in Toronto has now made its way to the United States in a mass movement that has been coined “Slut Walks,” named for its flamboyant celebration of sexuality aimed at the idea that regardless of dress, women do not deserve to be blamed for an act of violence.
Heather Jarvis, one of the founders for Slut Walk Toronto says, “It isn’t about just one idea of one police officer who practices victim blaming, it’s about changing the system and doing something constructive with anger and frustration.” She continued with, “the idea that there is some aesthetic that attracts sexual assault or even keeps you safe from sexual assault is inaccurate, ineffective and even dangerous.”
The fire igniting these protests has come on the backs of cases over the past decade and longer where judges are chastising victims for wearing tube tops and tight jeans. Signs held up at these Slut Walk protest events are read with the same subtext; “It was Christmas day. I was 14 and raped in a stairwell wearing snowshoes and layers. Did I deserve it too?”
The Huffington Post is reporting planned Slut Walks between now and May 7 in major U.S. cities such as Boston and Dallas, as well as Europe, Asia and even Australia via Facebook. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The inner feminist in me loves the idea of Slut Walks. The idea of exaggerated visibility is fitting in this case. The message that no woman deserves to be raped is a good one. It forces communities to actually see women as people first before making judgments. Rape is a form of abuse and control. Until we shift our focus of understanding and punishing perpetrators instead of victims, we cannot combat the overwhelmingly sad rape statistics.
What do you think? Is Slut Walks a good idea?
Photo from Xtra.ca via flickr
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