Cop Implies Rape Victim Deserved It Because of Her Dress; Protests are Sweeping the Country

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?


Related Stories:

Students March to Protest Stereotyping Rape Victims

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

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


Photo from via flickr


Elaine McAuliffe
Elaine McAuliffe5 years ago

Unfortunately, facts demonstrate that "de-sexing" rapists and child molesters just leads to them committing these acts with foreign objects. No, what's needed is more focus on the rape victim being a VICTIM, not an object to be used by men who hate women.

Rob Probin
Rob P6 years ago

Rapists and child molesters should be desexed then we wouldn't have this problem any more

John S.
Past Member 6 years ago

I'm not sure its' going to help your cause - which I totally support, but to be honest, most guys haven't really got a problem with lots of girls dressing sexy and marching down the street.

Jenny S.
Jen S6 years ago

This attitude is still rampant in the justice system. and probably one significant reason for the vast under-reporting of rapes. Rape is not about clothing choices; it isn't about the victim. It is about violence, about lack of self-control and rationalizing that absence of self-control through blaming a crimnal act upon the victim, the rapist's arrogance, absence of ethics, sense of entitlement, misogyny or misanthropy. The behavior on a a presumed professional with training is beyond excuse.

Betsy M.
Betsy M6 years ago

A cop should know better than to pass out this disinformation. Excuses used by rapists include that women were dressed too provacatively, too conservatively, too slopily, too neatly, ... Cops should not support lame excuses created by rapists.

Marie K.
Marie K6 years ago

Another suggestion... make Sex Ed mandatory in school, AND, make Rape Resistance a mandatory part of it for girls! Teach young women how to resist and completely incapacitate a rapist! If rapists knew a majority of women knew how to defend themselves, they would be less likely to even try it!

Marie K.
Marie K6 years ago

I feel safest in clothing that shows I am a strong, beautiful, sexy woman. I am confident and ready to stand up for myself in such an outfit. I have only once been treated inappropriately in such an outfit, by a guy who (unkown to me until after the fact) ALWAYS tried to rape his dates regardless of what they are wearing or who they are. When I dress mousy, I feel mousy, and probably look like an easy target for the average rapist, who looks for someone mousy and easy to control.

Bibi Sarangabataanan

The cop never suggested women should walk around in Burkas. That's your invention. Regardless there is truth to the perception that women are raped when they wear burkas, provocative clothing or everyday Western wear. Somebody somewhere is going be raped no matter what they wear...probably every minute of everyday. .

So ladies what do you feel safest wearing out in public under any given circumstance, given that you know without a doubt that someone, somewhere is going to be raped in the next five minutes, .

Is your defense against this inevitability to assert that men shouldn't rape? Good luck, that is no defense at all because some men will rape. The only question is...will one rape YOU.

Is it safer to wear provocative clothes?
Or is it safer to wear modest clothing.
Is it safer to carry a baseball bat?
Is it safer to walk with a dog?

If you disgree with the cop and you think it makes no difference how you dress or how you act then I guess you will disregard what he said. He never implied a rape victim deserved anything, he was speaking about avoiding becoming a victim altogether.

Marjaana V.
marjaana v6 years ago

"He was giving a safety lecture, or basically tips on how to reduce one's chance of being victimized. He did not imply anyone deserved to be raped. "

what a load of nonsense! a safety lecture! it's 35 C and you're supposed wlak about in a burka?


and speaking of which - if being covered up from head to is so important, why do muslim women get raped? they're supposedly the most protected on the planet, yet they get raped just the same.

and when their rapists get caught, they'll just kill the victim because rape is a serious offense, but murdering to atone HER sin and the shame on her family is a mere 3 months in jail.

oh but th's different...

no it bloody well ain't!

samantha, my sympathy is with you!

john and tavis.... with you not so much... you're dinosaurs.

Shanie M.
Shanie Mangulin6 years ago

Unfortunately, sometimes the 'protectors' in our society are the biggest & most dangerous to the well-being of ALL women because of their warped opinions of what is considered 'proper' & 'right'. I live in Toronto & I think that so-called 'slut walks' are absolutely necessary until certain bipeds look beyond their own sexuality & cease to blame all sex-crimes on the victims! People with this type of attitude tend to blame all victims of any sex crime as "asking for it" thru their own attitudes, behaviour, etc. And you tho't that such an idiotic, unimformed attitude existed only in the 3rd world? I only hope that said officer was disciplined!