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Police Officer Advises Women to Avoid Sexual Assault By Not Dressing Like a “Slut”

Police Officer Advises Women to Avoid Sexual Assault By Not Dressing Like a “Slut”

As Care2 follows the aftermath of CBS’s Lara Logan’s sexual assault and beating in Egypt, the normalcy of victim blaming surrounding sexual assaults against women became even more clear to me as I came across yet another example. 

As Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Canada, a Toronto Police Service officer suggested women could avoid sexual assault by not dressing like a “slut.”

“I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this,” said the officer, “however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” 

The remark was made at a campus safety information session where officers handed out safety tips to community members. Some safety tip. 

Osgoode assistant dean of the Juris Doctor Program said he was “shocked and appalled” about the comments and contacted the police for a written apology. 

The police officer in question, Const. Michael Sanguinetti, has since apologized saying he is “embarrassed” by what he said, adding that assaulted women are “not victims by choice.” 

“I made a comment which was poorly thought out and did not reflect the commitment of the Toronto Police Service to the victims of sexual assaults,” said Sanguinetti in an email apology sent to the school. “Violent crimes such as sexual assaults can have a traumatizing effect on their victims…My comment was hurtful in this respect.” 

Not Victims By Choice  

Linking a woman’s clothing to sexual assault is just one of the many ways women are blamed for sexual assaults that are never their choice. 

When a police officer offers “not dressing like a slut” as advice to keep women safe, he is directly placing the blame on her while taking the responsibility away from the perpetrator – the person who committed the crime. 

These kinds of remarks also make it incredibly difficult for women to come forward after they’ve been attacked. Women shouldn’t be second guessing their choice of wardrobe after being raped or sexually assaulted. They should be seeking help and justice – something they won’t do if they feel like what happened was their fault. 

Related from Care2: 

I Was a Mob Sex Attack Victim in Tahrir Square…Just Like Lara Logan

Attack on Lara Logan Unleashes Victim-Blaming and Islam-Bashing

RAINN Offers Guidance In Responding To Logan Tragedy 

CBS Reporter Lara Logan Sexually Assaulted in Cairo 

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Photo by Katie Tegtmeyer used under a Creative Commons license

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453 comments

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10:19PM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

An enormous round of applause, continue the great work.
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11:44PM PST on Jan 9, 2014

Highly vigorous blog, I liked that much.

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12:38AM PDT on May 17, 2013

Rape pre-dates mini skirts.

6:51AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

What comes next? Some idiot man telling women to wear a sack over their head and body--wait that's not called a sack. It's called a burkah and that already happens.
OR
we could really be revolutionary and tell men to keep their pe**s in their pants.

6:51AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

What comes next? Some idiot man telling women to wear a sack over their head and body--wait that's not called a sack. It's called a burkah and that already happens.
OR
we could really be revolutionary and tell men to keep their pe**s in their pants.

10:03PM PDT on May 12, 2012

WOMEN-MINORITIES-GAY-STRAIGHT:USE your VOICE or LOSE your VOICE so your (children)DAUGHTER'S have a VOICE and FREEDOM of CHOICE!

What about when a 90 yr. old WOMEN is the one being RAPED? Are those DEPEND'S she's wearing a TURN ON or maybe that get TURNED ON by their FALSE TEETH or LACK there of any TEETH.

What about BABIES and small CHILDREN of any sex who get's RAPED?? What about NECROPHILIAC'S?? Is a DEAD person a TURN ON??

12:26PM PDT on Sep 4, 2011

@Edward W That is my point. You are repeating the social meme, but it is false. Some police, unfortunately, are not informed enough to know the difference. Convicted rapists usually blame the victim, rarely because they were dressed in an enticing manner. Their excuses include the victim being too fat, too sloppy dressed, dressed plainly, dressed like a man, too old, dressed poor, dressed rich... The myth that women control rape behavior through their clothing puts women in danger.

6:54PM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

@Betsy M. et al; He is a police officer and he DOES know about criminal conduct, which is precisely why he knows what kind kind of women usually (USUALLY!) are victims of rapists. His is the voice of experience. He is just offering advice to women if they want to reduce their chances of being victims. If he told a mouse to avoid walking down an alley full of cats would you call him a ogre? If he told a jewelry store to lock their doors at night, is he being an insensitive troll? It sucks that women aren't safe on our streets, yes, but that is just the way it is!

9:19AM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

“'I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this,' said the officer" I guess Toronto does not want it to get out how many stoopids they have on the force. Your average Troglodyte could get away with this, but as an officer, you are expected to know something about criminal conduct.

8:30AM PDT on Jul 6, 2011

I %100 agree, it has nothing to do with the way females dress.
Rape, assaults on women, child abuse in all its forms cannot ever be excused or explained away, these offenders don't deserve jail, that costs money, brand them like cattle, on their face. foreheads, so the can suffer the rest of their lives, as the victims do. the other alternative put them on death row.

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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