*could be triggering*
This was a comment Constable Michael Sanguinetti made during a York University safety forum at Osgoode in Canada way back in January
. He has since apologized
for the comment. But what he said... It's stupid and insluting and, obviously, victim-blaming.
The comment triggered Toronto's SlutWalk to emerge
. While sparked off by one police officer's insensitivie, moronic, stupid, insulting comment, victim-blaming has a much, much longer history.
It's frustrating. It's annoying. It's not a march where women (or men) are all suppose to dress provocatively in low-cut tops and hot pants. Protestors can dress in whatever manner of dress they wish. It's a protest against societal victim-blaming for sexual assault and rape. It's a protest against people thinking how a person dresses makes them "okay" to assault and rape, that they're "asking" for it.
I found out about this while still in school and it's been simmering. This struck a nerve because, like I've mentioned before, I watched The Accused
when I was 6 to 8 years old and the attackers in Jodie Foster's character's public gang-rape was not taken to court until she had to personally pursue it with a female lawyer. Because of how she was dressed and acted beforehand. A gray tank, a short skirt, dancing with strangers, was drinking...
I just hate
it. I realize that there are some smarter and less smart decisions people can make to decrease the odds of being assaulted, mugged, raped - walking alone in a dark alley instead of lighted streets that may be available, not being aware of your surroundings - but ultimately it is not the victims' decision that makes assault or rape happen.
GOD DAMN IT, IT IS THE MOLESTERS, THE ASSAULTERS, THE RAPISTS WHO DECIDE TO MOLEST, ASSAULT AND RAPE OTHERS. The people are attacked and violated do not ask for it.
(I say "some" because I think most assaulted children believe their victimizers when they're told they have choice, it's the way things are, etc. They sometimes aren't in a position to be able to avoid such circumstances and situations.)
My concern and feelings about this has heightened since going to college. I suppose that makes sense, because my four high schools never really put up posters about assault or rape. Also, in college I had much more opportunity to go to parties. In high school my parents never let me go to any parties that weren't school-sanctioned or held at parents' residences. At college I had the option to go to college parties, even if I didn't go to many. The few times I went alone or with another girl and not my boyfriend (at the time) I always got hit on by other guys or they got handsy. *makes a disgusted face*
It in my final year that I realized the posters around campus were all about how to AVOID BEING A RAPE VICTIM. It was fulll of tips like "Don't leave your cup or drink alone" or "Don't accept a drink that wasn't opened by you" or "Have others with you to make sure nothing happens." There was NOTHING about how to avoid being A RAPIST OR A MOLESTER OR ASSAULTER. Okay, maybe the phrase "Don't rape" won't work well because it seems a lot of rapists don't think what they did was wrong, or it happened in alcohol-induced situations where there are conflicting feelings and stories about what was consensual and what wasn't and things get forgotten. But there has to be something...just something, posters or forums or something about RESPECTING OTHER PEOPLE AS HUMANS WHO HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS ABOUT THEIR BODIES AND WHAT THEY WANT TO DO WITH IT.
I know several friends have been assaulted/raped on-campus, and I've heard of some of the things their assaulters/rapists have said about them/the situation. Before college, too, I didn't realize how much alcohol can affect the kind of interactions people have with each other. I remember one night where alcohol made things fearful for me.
I'm frustrated with some views I grew up with that made victim-blaming or victim-asking seem explicit or implicit. Don't wear shorts, don't wear sleeveless tops, don't wear shape-showing clothes, don't smile to males strangers, don't be friendly with male strangers, don't wear non full-length skirts, etc, you'll just make yourself seem more available to men and men can't control themselves. That's why we women have to protect ourselves and them
from their horn dog tendencies by giving them less temptation. Yadda yadda yoo.
I find that so insulting. To males, females, non-female victims, other genders, everybody.
I'm still angry at myself for not being able to volunteer at SARP (Sexual Assault Recovery Program) back in my college town because I didn't have a license or car so I could drive to the hospital/any place I was needed to help someone advocate for themselves.
Slutwalk has spread around the world. Chicago is having theirs June 4th
and I fully intend to go. Again, they don't say you have to dress like a "skank" or a "ho" or a "slut" in order to attend
. I doubt I'd wear something much revealing, though I know some people think a tank top paired with jeans or shorts is revealing already. Since it's a lot of walking, sneakers! And maybe my hoodie if the weather will still be chilly then. I wrote a note about it on Facebook and tagged some people when in the library earlier this week. A lot of people can't/won't come because they're too far away from Chicago, busy, or not very interested, but I hope others will participated in the Slutwalks in their area, if there are any. I wish I could go to several others with some friends of mine around this country or world, such as Slutwalk Portland or Slutwalk Spokane. Over the past few weeks, talking about this on the phone with Matt, I've gotten so frustrated and verge of tears or teared up. I know there are other areas of society that some humans don't see other humans as humans - racism, homophobia, sexism, sexual trafficking, emotional manipulation and abuse, a whole lot of places. This is one place I feel passionate about.