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24 May

So, yesterday I was standing in formation and another Soldier (male) began telling me about his weekend. Apparently, it was awesome in general, but he was particularly amused Saturday night when he sat on his in-laws’ porch and got to “watch all the sluts and skanks walking by in all their slutty skirts.”

Given the setting, I couldn’t give the Soldier a piece of my mind right then and there, however I did manage to keep a straight face and say, “Oh my gosh, are you serious? You know, if you got a laugh out of that, you should go home and Google ‘Slut Walk 2011′ on your computer.” Immediately, the ears of the other guys in my class pricked up, several of them looking interested in seeing “real sluts” on their computer screens.

Jokes on them.

Slut Walk began as a protest in Toronto following remarks made by officers from the city’s Police Service. During a meeting where safety tips were being handed out to women concerned about the issue, one officer shared his perspective that if women wanted to avoid being sexually assaulted, then they shouldn’t “dress like sluts.”

Obviously, this is a classic case of blaming the victim.

Toronto’s citizens didn’t just stand idly by and accept such an inappropriate remark. Instead, they organized a protest that swept across Canada and even the United States.

From the Slut Walk site:

As the city’s major protective service, the Toronto Police have perpetuated the myth and stereotype of ‘the slut’, and in doing so have failed us. With sexual assault already a significantly under-reported crime, survivors have now been given even less of a reason to go to the Police, for fear that they could be blamed. Being assaulted isn’t about what you wear; it’s not even about sex; but using a pejorative term to rationalize inexcusable behaviour creates an environment in which it’s okay to blame the victim.

Historically, the term ‘slut’ has carried a predominantly negative connotation. Aimed at those who are sexually promiscuous, be it for work or pleasure, it has primarily been women who have suffered under the burden of this label. And whether dished out as a serious indictment of one’s character or merely as a flippant insult, the intent behind the word is always to wound, so we’re taking it back. “Slut” is being re-appropriated.

We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.

We are a movement demanding that our voices be heard. We are here to call foul on our Police Force and demand change. We want Toronto Police Services to take serious steps to regain our trust. We want to feel that we will be respected and protected should we ever need them, but more importantly be certain that those charged with our safety have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — slut or otherwise.

We are tired of speeches filled with lip service and the apologies that accompany them. What we want is meaningful dialogue and we are doing something about it: WE ARE COMING TOGETHER. As people from all gender expressions and orientations, all walks of life, levels of employment and education, all races, ages, abilities, and backgrounds, from all points of this city and elsewhere. [SOURCE]“

One Comment

  1. There has been a lot of backlash, and as much as I agree that no part of a person’s attire gives someone else the right to assault them, I disagree with their use of the term slut.u00a0 Using slut only serves to further entrench the link between clothing and the negative JUDGMENT of female sexuality/promiscuity.u00a0 They missed the mark, and their updated website suggests they are reconsidering a new tack, which I eagerly await.u00a0 Brilliant campaign, but set off on the wrong foot…u00a0 thanks for the follow btw

    Betsy Agar

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