Slut walk was started with the comment (made by a police officer in Toronto) that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. The comment was made at a university safety forum in January 2011 and has triggered worldwide marches, called ‘Slutwalks’, in objection. These planned protests are made up of mainly young women, some dressed casually, while others don corsets, fishnets and other ‘provocative’ wear. A few carry placards with comments like ‘This is not my “I want you” face’ and ‘STOP slut shaming’. All are declaring their right to dress how they choose, without being used as scapegoats for illegal and violent attacks.
It is an interesting idea and I can see where the organizers are coming from, especially the use of shock factor to get the point across. It has obviously worked, as the marches have sparked comments and debates all over the Internet. The Auckland march made the news last night, and although I am sure it would have been covered had the ‘slut’ factor not been a part of it, I do not think it would have received the same publicity. After all, sex sells. Some say it is sad that when opposing sexual violence towards women, we resort to sex and sexual references to get our message across.
” Using sexuality to satirise a crime that, above all else, needs to be seen as a crime of violence, has backfired on the message. ” – Tracey Barnett nzherald.co.nz
In saying this, maybe this is the best form of protest. In apposing being victimised sexually, maybe the best way to proclaim our sexual freedom and our rights as women is to do so in such a way that cannot be ignored. Words like ‘slut’ generate many different connotations, none of which are good and almost all of which are used from a male’s perspective. What better way to appose violence from men towards women, than to take charge of such a derogative word and give it a positive slant for women and their rights? Even though I never wish to be called a slut, no matter what the context, I can admire the people who have done this.
Rape is rape, no matter if the victim is a nun or a prostitute. When rapists can start blaming their victims actions for the assault then we should begin to worry. Women should be able to wear what they want and not have to worry about some leery guy presuming that they are ‘asking for it’. Do we say it is okay to sodomize cross-dressers loitering on K rd? Does the way they are dressed and how they have chosen to live their lives mean that they are gagging for it? We were sickened when hearing about the two-year-old child who was kicked to death after wetting the couch in his sleep, even though his carer was angered by the fact he should know better. What about the Australian woman who claimed to have been drugged and raped by co-workers in Dubai and was then charged with adultery after it was discovered that her rapists were married? She is now seeking leave to sue the Commonwealth because she was not warned that crying ‘rape’ in Dubai could lead to jail time. We all shake our heads in disgust, yet with attitudes that lead to ‘slutwalks’ how are we any better?
We all know the difference between right and wrong, attacker and victim. Rape should be no different. Violence is violence. Where do we draw the line?
Information sourced from Wikipedia.com, nzherald.co.nz and Stuff.com.