Students March to Protest Stereotyping Rape Victims

They were not your typical feminists. Many wouldn’t call themselves feminists, nor had they ever been part of a demonstration in support of women’s rights, but last Sunday, 3,000 of them marched down Toronto’s College Street protesting an offhand comment delivered by a police official to a York University class.

Don’t Dress Like a Slut

Toronto Police Constable, Michael Sanguinetti’s, remark that women who don’t want to be raped should “avoid dressing like sluts,” struck those who heard it–then and later–as victim blaming.

And so was born “Slutwalk — Because We’ve Had Enough.”

Wearing white t-shirts with the Slutwalk logo and carrying signs, young women, and more than a few young men, marched to Queen’s Park to protest the police, Constable Sanguinetti’s remark and what some felt was a culture that promoted the idea that some victims deserved what happened to them.

Official Apology

Although the Constable had already apologized, the police again issued a statement saying that his words were unacceptable, but the marchers believe that Sanguinetti represents a larger problem – the stereotyping of rape victims as “good” or “bad” girls, which means some rape victims are not believed or treated as the victims of violent crime that they are.

What Do You Think?

It’s 2011. Why are women still judged by their appearance and clothing when they have been violently assaulted and/or raped? Shouldn’t we be past stereotyping of this nature when it’s been established for quite some time that sexual assault is a crime of violence and not sexual at all.

It’s particularly disturbing when people in positions of legal authority still harbor such views. How can having such an opinion not affect their work?

What’s your perspective? Was the walk an overreaction or should citizens publicly call out officials who hold such outdated and dangerous views?


Related Stories:

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

Rapist Gets No Jail Time Because Victim Was So “Inviting”

Freshman Commits Suicide After Alleged Rape By Notre Dame Football Player


Photo: Slutwalk by troismarteaux

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Will Rogers
Will Rogers2 years ago

Rape was around before mini skirts.

BarbaraB Dion
Barbara Dion2 years ago

Robyn: although I find your comment a bit "off", I agree about mini-skirts. They were a big rage in the 60's. I even ended up on Carnaby Street in London (where the mini was invented) but I was not impressed.

My mother and grandmother tried to get me in a mini...even forced me to wear one once and then made me walk down the street. That was their idea of "getting me a boyfriend" since I did not date.
I did not date because of their interference and meddling bossiness. It was a real turnoff. And I had many other interests (and high school guys were immature and ugly).

My mother screamed at me when she learned I would not keep wearing that skirt. I told her when the day came when SHE would wear it and walk down the street... I might re-consider it.

Lydia Jean Houck
Lydia Jean Houck4 years ago

Well, clearly this officer was way off the mark, but it is kind of true that if a woman is covered up with a fifty pound full-body coat, there may be less chance of being raped.... dunno, its a tough one

Kendra S.
Kendra S.4 years ago

This is a longstanding problem in our society. NO woman wants to be rape. It's amazing that so many especially sexist males think they are entitled to a woman's body simply because they lack self control. It's vile and disgusting. Rape is rape. End this nonsense now.

Jeanne M.
Jeanne M.4 years ago

Sanguinetti is the type of police officer that makes rape victims reluctant to report the assault.

Carolyn B.
Carolyn R.4 years ago

Slut is supposed to be this mean word for a woman who is casual about sex - but rape is rape, even if the girl IS a slut. It's not ok to rape a slut. Not in my culture anyway, I'm not some backwards religious nutjob. Should it maybe NOT be a crime for me to punch a guy in the face with brass knuckles because he's wearing combat boots, leather, "gangsta" clothing, sweats, camo, a sleeveless t-shirt showing off his muscles, a "tough guy mustache" or a mullet or whatever? If I think a guy "looks like a tough guy" or a "badass" does that make it OK for me to beat him senseless because I think he's asking for it? If a guy is dressed like a fighter or a warrior, maybe flexing his muscles or standing in that imposing tough-guy manner, or if he makes shadow-boxing gestures? Those things make me want to beat a guy with a crow-bar, it's my nature, shouldn't guys accept the blame for making me feel that way and maybe misunderstanding their mixed signals? What did they think was going to happen, dressing like that? Also by the idiotic blame-the-victim logic every single guy who goes to war or to jail can be raped without repercussion, because everyone knows guys get raped in war and in jail, so they are kind of "asking for it" there too, right? Why else would they go to war or jail? Silly slut men.

Robyn O.
Robyn O.4 years ago

I am too old to forget what the world was like for women before the miniskirt. Respect as always was hard to find, but now every woman was described in the media as "mini-clad" or "mini-skirted" and there was no respite from pictures of legs, legs, legs. Everywhere a few of us thinkers were brave enough to react against the worsening level of women. All of you replying on this matter have known nothing else but the optimum view of women (and "style") as having naked legs. At least at the birth of the mini high heels were seen as in the worst taste and flats or low heeled shoes were what was worn with the mini. You can't tell me that it isn't provocative to wear a "skirt" an inch or two below the crotch. I know better. I've even asked men if it was the nudity or the possible shapeliness of the leg that attracted them. Those who answered truthfully admitted that the appeal was that it didn't take much lifting of the hem to see what was so easily available. Don't prostitutes wear minis? Idiots like Camille Paglia maintained that the ease of seeing and reaching the crotch makes women powerful. I don't see that, but then I don't see the mini as being liberating. It is and was just another way of keeping women down. But there is a change coming. After years of declining sales, retailers have finally realized that the only way to make money is to replace the minis, jeans, hooded sweatshirts and skin-tight teeshirts "stylish" for so long. Fall will see the change.

Petra Luna
Petra Luna4 years ago

I applaud those students. They are true to the cause.

Wisconsin passed a law in the 1990's that stated that the attire of a rape victim is inadmissible in court as evidence against the victim, but is applicable to find hair and dna of the perpetrator.

I think that's cool.

Lindsey Williams
Lindsey Williams4 years ago

Very cool that they did this. I do not agree with the constables comment. Girls do not bring rape upon themselves. thanks for sharing this article.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal4 years ago

The constable's words were unfortunate, yet how typical that some human beings will use any excuse to dominate, rape, and humiliate.