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SlutWalk Toronto takes its message to the street

Posted by Lauren Souch / April 4, 2011

SlutWalk TorontoThe Toronto SlutWalk featured over 1000 sign-wielding women, children and men who stomped, yelled, cheered, and hollered as they marched from Queen's Park to Police Headquarters with the strong message that "we've had enough."

"It's not about sex, it's about ethics" read one poster. "Believe it or not, my short skirt has NOTHING to do with you" screamed another.

The SlutWalk was founded shortly after an incident at York University where a Toronto Police officer stated that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized" during a campus safety information session.

SlutWalk Toronto"We are here to remind the police, and all those who believe this, that we are NOT responsible for sexual violence," Toronto Rape and Crisis Center representative Deb Singh told the crowd gathered outside of Police Headquarters, "We are WOMEN; and if we could prevent rape we would."

Melissa (who declined to give her last name) told me the idea that women "ask for it" by dressing a certain way is disgusting.

SlutWalk Toronto"If I want to wear a short skirt, or a low cut top, that does NOT mean I want you to touch me. I should be able to dress how I want without worrying about my safety, or about how people view me," she said, before loudly adding, "This is 2011, not 1950!"

Sarah Hamilton travelled here from Guelph to attend the rally after hearing about it from a friend who works for a a sexual assault crisis centre. "I have friends and family who have been through these things, and I came to show my support. I'm a huge supporter of women's rights, and of reclaiming our place in a society that sometimes is not very nice to us."

SlutWalk TorontoAfter the rally, I caught up with co-organizer Heather Jarvis who said she's absolutely "overjoyed" at the strong turnout.

There was, however, one organization glaringly absent from the rally: an official police presence. "It's very disappointing they aren't here," said Jarvis, "We didn't just want to stand here and say 'do better, do better, do better'... this was an opportunity for them to address some of the criticism, and they choose not to be here. To me, that's a message. How can we not take it as a message?"

SlutWalk TorontoJarvis hopes the success of the rally - both in Toronto, and globally (satellite SlutWalks are planned for Ottawa, Vancouver, Yellowknife, Dallas, and Boston, to name a few) - will make Police Services sit up take notice.

Already, SlutWalk has been a huge success - and not just in numbers. "One of the biggest things for me is that people aren't shutting up anymore," says Jarvis, "People are challenging each other about their ideas, and calling people out when they blame, and they shame, and they victimize. Change is made when you say something, and people are saying something."

SlutWalk TorontoSlutWalk Toronto



Smarm / April 4, 2011 at 09:28 am
Is that chick on the megaphone the mouth of every protest in this city?
hrs / April 4, 2011 at 09:28 am
I miss the Tamils clogging our streets.
Rob / April 4, 2011 at 09:31 am
It would certainly suck to be a white, middle-class, hetro-sexual male around this lot...
zxc / April 4, 2011 at 09:43 am
There was a girl there with SLUT written all over her body...I think I saw that movie.
Jimmysmack replying to a comment from Rob / April 4, 2011 at 09:47 am
Why would it suck? What would be the core message that would be hostile to white, middle-class, hetro males?

Seriously asking.
Rob / April 4, 2011 at 09:50 am
I get protesting over the comments made by the police officer. What I don't get is how this protest will help reclaim a word that has such a negative connotation to it.

Picard102 / April 4, 2011 at 09:52 am
I'd hazard to guess, short skirts have something to do with other people. Glad I didn't make it out too this, sounds like a lot of people showing up just to protest without caring what the message is.
Oui / April 4, 2011 at 09:56 am
We all know "rape" means "grated" in French.

Ergo, these people are raping my nerves with this protest.
Natta / April 4, 2011 at 10:01 am
more photos from the same happening
Rob replying to a comment from Natta / April 4, 2011 at 10:10 am
Natta those photos are great.
Jamie / April 4, 2011 at 10:14 am
cultureshot / April 4, 2011 at 10:32 am
Sorry, did I stumble onto the Toronto Sun's website here?
sp / April 4, 2011 at 10:43 am
For more photos on the walk -
Angela F. / April 4, 2011 at 10:58 am
The cop was offering advice on how to reduce your chances for being victimized. Looks to me like a bunch of idiots don't understand his point and instead of learning from his advice have shouted him down.
Go ahead, dress like a slut, but it WILL increase your chances for being raped just like flashing money WILL increase your chances of getting robbed.
The guy gave good solid advice
mace replying to a comment from Rob / April 4, 2011 at 10:59 am
I see not many blogTO readers are in support of blaming the perpatrator instead of the victim. There were straight, white, heterosexual men there...however unlike those commenting here they are informed and progressive men.
Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 10:59 am
This was my fave pic, personally:
BD / April 4, 2011 at 11:00 am
I believe it's pronounced SLÜT. I think it's designer.
then replying to a comment from mace / April 4, 2011 at 11:02 am
Then what about women like Angela F. who doesn't support you either, reading all the comments on the newspaper sites, blogs, etc. You guys don't have much support from women either.
Ralphie replying to a comment from mace / April 4, 2011 at 11:02 am
mace - why even bother? If the neaderthals you speak of had the brain matter to appeal to, they wouldn't have made such ridiculously ignorant comments in the first place.
Nissa / April 4, 2011 at 11:05 am
I believe this protest had a solid message: That rape is rape regardless of what the victim was wearing at the time. HOWEVER, it turned into a 'I can be a slut if I want to' protest. How are the two things related? You are actually insinuating that rape victims are generally dressed as sluts at the time, and therefore backing what the policeman said.

This is sadly another case of a protest filled with individuals who have no idea what they are protesting.
JennyT / April 4, 2011 at 11:06 am
A totally wonderful thing and I was glad to be there! I do wonder though, how many will blow there vote on the Greens of NDP... Iggy has some flaws but this type of attitude from the cop is CON at its best. To the women of Toronto, PLEASE vote smart! We are all to important not too!
Billy / April 4, 2011 at 11:24 am
To the rest of the female community, please stop embarrassing us this way. I am a gay woman with a PhD in feminist studies and when one person says something dumb it does not make a protest. I went for the first part and it was the embarrassment of the G20 fiasco all over again. We deserve equal wages, rights and acknowledgement. Make an effort to get to the table to talk about these things, I was truly sad watching this. This gave those who hate yet another reason to be ignorant.
Mike / April 4, 2011 at 11:27 am
I'm with angela F up there, the cop wasn't blaming the victim, the cop wasn't pointing the finger of blame at the victim, he was offerring a tidbit of advice on how to REDUCE the risk....

Kind of like Health Canada saying "where a condom", where was the big protest over that?

It's called "reducing the risk" and I'm all for any woman or person who takes steps to "reduce the risk".

The way I figure it: if you're going to poke the bear, don't complain if you get bit. The best advice? don't poke the bear.

Please remember: the cop in question was only addressing ONE instance of sexual assault. The vast majority of sexual assaults occur by someone the victim knows so it doesn't matter how you dress.......where was that message in this protest?
Corine / April 4, 2011 at 11:29 am
I strongly support the message behind this protest but, like a few other commenters, I am not sure how the word slut really factors in. Regardless, just because rapists are "neanderthals" doesn't mean their behaviour should be excused or tolerated. Change may not happen quickly but that doesn't mean it's not worth fighting for.
Truthandclarity / April 4, 2011 at 11:31 am
Don't walk alone in poorly lit areas/alleys late at night - accepted advice to adjust your behaviour minimize the risk of rape in the reality of the world

Don't dress in an overtly sexual manner since it will draw additional attention from men you don't want - controversial advice about adjusting your behaviour to minimize the risk of rape in the reality of the world.

Roger / April 4, 2011 at 11:31 am
Here's 5 photos I took at the protest:
bcbiv replying to a comment from Mike / April 4, 2011 at 11:51 am
Sorry Mike,

But as a Man, you actually have no voice on the matter of rape, as it probably will never happen to you.

There is also a marked difference between a "slut" and a "rape victim"

I have friends who are sluts, self declared. Why? They love to have sex. They love to have sex with those they want to have sex with. They are polyamorous or a serial-dater. That does not however mean that its okay for them to be raped, just cause they like sex.

I am sorry but if the Toronto Police spent more time hiring intelligent people, maybe they'd be able to actually catch some rapists instead of blaming the victims and those who want their voices to be heard.

And that isn't just on rape charges, I was in a hit and run and was told "I should have looked what I was doing" and that "even though you have the license plate, your story is speculative". ( I was crossing the street.)

While I understand many people may not understand this protest, and perhaps some of the protesters were lacking in information, that does not change this from a serious topic that needs to be addressed. We as a society disown victims of rape, acting as if its some sort of "rite of passsage" into growing up.

But this isn't about changing the policies in place. It is about teaching our sons that it is okay to be vulnerable and show emotion, that we don't have to be this powerful beast, that women are not our property for sexual exploitation, and that they are capable of some of the most wonderful things in the world.

Let change happen now, let it start with you.
Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 11:57 am
"Don't walk alone in poorly lit areas/alleys late at night - accepted advice to adjust your behaviour minimize the risk of rape in the reality of the world. Don't dress in an overtly sexual manner since it will draw additional attention from men you don't want - controversial advice about adjusting your behaviour to minimize the risk of rape in the reality of the world."

Wow, those are AWESOMELY GREAT tips, truthandclarity! But I have EVEN BETTER ONES, trufax!

!!! Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work !!!

1. Don’t put drugs in women’s drinks.

2. When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her alone.

3. If you pull over to help a woman whose car has broken down, remember not to rape her.

4. If you are in a lift and a woman gets in, don’t rape her.

5. When you encounter a woman who is asleep, the safest course of action is to not rape her.

6. Never creep into a woman’s home through an unlocked door or window, or spring out at her from between parked cars, or rape her.

7. When you lurk in bushes and doorways with criminal intentions, always wear bright clothing, wave a flashlight, or play “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)” by the Raveonettes on a boombox really loud, so women in the vicinity will know where to aim their flamethrowers.

8. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If it is inconvenient for you to stop yourself from raping women, ask a trusted friend to accompany you at all times.

9. Carry a rape whistle. If you find that you are about to rape a woman, you can hand the whistle to your buddy, so s/he can blow it to call for help.

10. Give your buddy a revolver, so that when indifferent passers-by either ignore the rape whistle, or gather round to enjoy the spectacle, s/he can pistol-whip you.

11. Don’t forget: Honesty is the best policy. When asking a woman out on a date, don’t pretend that you are interested in her as a person; tell her straight up that you expect to be raping her later. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the woman may take it as a sign that you do not plan to rape her.

(In other words, the best way to prevent rape is to not rape anybody.)

Gross / April 4, 2011 at 12:07 pm
Ugh, these comments. I never want to be left alone with a Torontonian man ever again.
mike / April 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Isn't it sad that this whole event is based on the false belief that by telling people to protect themselves, the officer was blaming them?

Too bad people are acting on what they think he meant, instead of what he actually said.
Lauren / April 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm
Well, many of these comments confirm exactly why this was so needed.
jocelyn / April 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm
reading the appalling comments on this article really demonstrates just how ignorant & immature people can be.

your narrow-mindedness is disappointing as usual, and i'm fucking embarrassed that this is a forum intended to represent torontonians to the world at large (if blogTO has a significant international readership). if you have nothing constructive to contribute to a discussion on a sensitive issue, you should keep your uninformed & obtuse remarks to yourself.
Lauren / April 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm
And because people seem to be missing the point... the officer wasn't just "giving some helpful advice".


What is really so hard about that for people to get? Get out of your heads and realize that those are assumptions not based in reality, and that all they do is serve to blame the victim and take some of the blame off of who it deserves to be on: the rapist.
speech replying to a comment from jocelyn / April 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm
"you should keep your uninformed & obtuse remarks to yourself."

Freedom of speech............
Ana replying to a comment from Nissa / April 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm
I agree with Nissa, there are two distinct messages being sent here...the original 'rape is rape regardless' and the 'My right to be a slut' message.

By protesting your rights to your own sexuality at the same time it confuses the initial message which is very disappointing seeing how powerful the first message is. That rape is rape.
Odd replying to a comment from jocelyn / April 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm
You're more than welcome to your opinion, just like everyone else is.

But to try and tell people they cant say something simply because you disagree with it, wont fly.

Sally / April 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm
The point of the original message is...don't make yourself an easily spotted target. Same advice as don't flash hundred dollar bills and have them hanging out of your pocket if you don't want to get robbed or mugged. Chances are that if a sicko sees 2 women on the dressed in short skirt with low riding top and one that is not...there's a pretty good chance he goes after the more provocatively dressed one...the one more likely to give him a woody.
G replying to a comment from Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 12:32 pm
Thank you!! This protest was about taking back power, and criticizing a system that says to society "Don't get raped" instead of "Don't rape". The majority of commenters are totally missing that point and instead just enforcing the latter.
Rob replying to a comment from Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 12:35 pm
We get it, RTOI. But there's a difference between theory and practice. OBVIOUSLY people (not just men) shouldn't rape other people, but if it were that simple, we wouldn't need to have this conversation.

Don't think you truthandclarity's point has at least some merit?
mike replying to a comment from Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 12:38 pm
Those are all great tips if you're at a how not to rape people community meeting. When you're at a how to not get raped community meeting as was the case where this comment was made, don't dress like a slut is also a great tip
A / April 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm
Even being what I think is a progressive young white male (I've helped run a transgender hostel) I don't really understand the conflict and reason for this particular protest.

The way any person dresses will impact the level of fear or venerability that they feel in ANY environment. The extreme case of urban environments being when a women dresses up and then at some point is wearing said dress in transit and therefore may encounter people they didn't intend to. A look but don't touch attitude is the least they should expect by dressing to draw attention to themselves.

Of course no man should consciously let himself be put into a state where he would ever consider raping anyone. ie. getting too drunk and staring too much. But in a world where many men do just that I find it easy to see that dressing less provocatively in transit (or using a number of other methods) would substantially reduce the risk.

While we've tamed our environments I'm not sure any place should be considered as outside of 'the wild' by either gender.

This all being said, I think the police should have phrased their statements differently, and that even dressing provocatively would NEVER be justification for rape. Rape is never justified.
mike replying to a comment from G / April 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm
For god's sake its not a system that says "don't get raped" they were at a COMMUNITY SAFETY MEETING and he was giving tips on avoiding victimization. Not a rapist convention. What would you have him say? "In order to not get raped, go live in a society without rapists"? Sadly that's not an option for most york students.
Oni / April 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm
I attended with my friends yesterday, and we were so glad to be there. At one point I overheard a mother say to her teenage daughter: "It's nice to know we're not alone".

ChristieLea replying to a comment from Sally / April 4, 2011 at 01:00 pm
And what if the woman NOT dressed in a low-riding top gives the sicko a woody?

It's sad that so many people here are still buying into the idea that rape is a crime of passion. It's a crime of POWER, and a rapist is just as likely to want power over a woman in sweatpants as he is over a woman in a miniskirt.

Rob / April 4, 2011 at 01:03 pm
I refuse to accept that not putting yourself in compromising positions (note: I didn't say anything about dress) is not legitimate advice.

While IN THEORY I agree that no one deserves or asks to be raped, it's not practical or responsible to advise girls/women that its safe to do what they want, despite the fact that they should be able to...
Rob replying to a comment from Rob / April 4, 2011 at 01:08 pm
Sorry, my "IN THEORY" is in the wrong spot! Makes it look like I meant that in practice people deserve to be raped...

While I agree that no one deserves or asks to be raped, it's not practical or responsible IN THEORY to advise girls/women that its safe to do what they want, despite the fact that they should be able to...
Relevant to Our Interests replying to a comment from Rob / April 4, 2011 at 01:10 pm
"Don't think you truthandclarity's point has at least some merit?"

No. When I was raped, I was wearing a hoody and jeans. When my cousin was raped, she was wearing a suit - a pantsuit, at that. When my co-worker was raped, she was wearing her pyjamas - because her live-in boyfriend was the one who raped her.

What women wear is actually irrelevant to the question of rape. The only common factor in every single rape scenarios is the presence of a rapist - there isn't a lot we can really do to "protect" ourselves. The onus needs to be placed on the people actually doing all the raping.
Innana / April 4, 2011 at 01:12 pm
@ Sally

So you know that this is how a rapist thinks? That he is more likely to assault a person that arouses him, rather than a woman who looks weak and vulnerable? Where is your hard evidence of this? How do you know what really arouses a rapist? Rape is about POWER, not sex. It isn't what she's wearing - its the fact that she is totally under his control that gets him off, that she is powerless, that he is hurting her - NOT her appearance

You are totally absolving the man of any responsibility in his actions. Even if what you posit is true, which it isn't, how is that the WOMAN'S fault? In court, if a person flashes money and gets robbed, does the judge EVER say, whelp, I'm not sending this guy to jail because you were dumb enough to flash money, or does the judge admonish parents whose child wanders away and gets kidnapped instead of punishing the perpetrator to the full extent of the law? Where else does ANY of this blaming the victim bullshit happen except in the case of rape?? Why is that, do you think?
Paul / April 4, 2011 at 01:21 pm
Wow, this comment section is doing a really stellar job at disproving the reality that web comments sections are THE WORST THING ABOUT THE INTERNET.

Choice of clothing has ZERO relevance to this issue. If a rapist were to use "she was dressed as a slut" in court, they would most certainly be convicted. That's it. It goes no further than that.
If a murderer were to use "he/she was wearing a shirt that said kill me" in court, they, too, were most certainly be convicted.
You know there are, like, BEACHES? Where people wear even less than what you'd probably define as "slutty" clothes? MAN, what a rape fest a beach must be. Hell, I hope none of you have women nudists in your family because they're pretty much begging to be raped, right? I'll be sure to remind you of that if it happens. Wait, no I won't, because I'm a rational thinking, compassionate person.

Putting yourself in a compromising position? A compromising position is rock climbing, where you take sole responsibility for yourself and your equipment. The only thing compromised about a risky situation with another human is solely the mind of the perpetrator, and if those defending the words of the police officer are capable of judging intent, you must have super powers.

Some of those participating didn't "get it"? Considering how many people commenting here don't "get it", either, we should maybe let it pass.

What a tragic embarrassment.

Kenneth replying to a comment from Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 01:22 pm
"The onus needs to be placed on the people actually doing all the raping."

Sorry, I'm not the one doing any raping. Slutwalk did nothing for me. All it does is underscore the shrill nature of this protest.

Obviously we as males "just aren't getting it", we are so unprogressive that we need this kind of protest to teach us that rape is wrong.

This whole issue and anger is misdirected and does nothing to solve the problem.

You want to know what stops "all the people doing the raping", it's called the law, it's called law enforcement, it's called punishment. It's called - all the things we already have in a modern society to prevent this behavior.

Reclaiming the word "slut" for all the myriad of reasons posted here by women who claim that "men just can't understand, and shouldn't have a say" has exactly what functionaly purpose in making change of any kind?

Also, when women say that we can't have a say because we are men, that's like saying white people don't have a say in racism because they don't experience it like minorities do. That's rubbish.
Relevant to Our Interests replying to a comment from Rob / April 4, 2011 at 01:24 pm
Also, Rob, don't be naive in thinking that we silly women are not always, always assessing threat levels at any given moment. We are bombarded with messages from an early age to Do This and Do That, and Never Under Any Circumstances Do THAT. (And of course, if we're too cautious, we get vilified for being crazy/paranoid/unfriendly: The thing is, regardless of the care we take, rapes just happen to keep happening, so it would seem to me that all that energy people spend offering Helpful Advice to women would be more fruitfully spent elsewhere.
Relevant to Our Interests replying to a comment from not_to_worry / April 4, 2011 at 01:27 pm
Yeah, rape is SUCH a compliment.
Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 01:42 pm
liz / April 4, 2011 at 01:54 pm
seriously disgusted at some of the comments on here.
didn't realize so many people were pro-rape.
Parker / April 4, 2011 at 02:00 pm
To the boors: Imagine the cops saying your car got jacked because it was hot or your house robbed because it was fancy and had a big TV.

The police needed to be told a dress is not a yes. (Kudos to the lady with that sign)
Derek / April 4, 2011 at 02:02 pm
Throughout the day, the editors have been trying to keep this comment thread from degenerating into an embarrassing mess by periodically unpublishing comments that violate our policy.

Please bear in mind that we'll continue to remove prejudicial and offensive remarks. Or, if the discourse worsens, we'll simply close the section to new comments. Criticism of the SlutWalk is 100% fine, as is intelligent debate about the issues under discussion — but threats and barbs that aren't constructive in any way will be removed without additional notice.

We're all better than that, aren't we?
Heah / April 4, 2011 at 02:02 pm
I suspect a lot of the people who say the protest missed it's mark didn't actually go to the protest.

I did and I was really pleased with over inclusive the message was overall.

- This is a problem with the system, not one person's poor choice of words
- Our victim's services need better training to deal with these crimes.

I was also mostly pleased with the fact that it was an inclusive rally; I had been worried the organizers would forget about the fact that men and transpeople experience sexual assault was well; they did not.

For anyone interested, here's a good article about why reclaiming the word slut *is* necessary.
Heah / April 4, 2011 at 02:03 pm
"I did and I was really pleased with over inclusive the message was overall."

Well that didn't make sense... what was I trying to say?

Let's try: I did and I was really pleased with the message overall.
JB / April 4, 2011 at 02:29 pm
FYI - Women are most likely to be raped by someone they know, most likely a relative (I think I might be the first person to mention this, I'm suprised it's taken that long). In these cases clothing is not a factor.

In the uncommon case where a woman is raped by a stranger, it usually happens at a social venue (drugging a woman's drink and then "taking her home because she's too drunk) - being snatched off the street is actually extremely rare.

It's true that rape is primarily about power, but that's not the whole story - it's about power over a specific type of woman (in the rapist's mind). Generally, in the non-related cases, rapists tend to go after young, attractive women more than they do other types of women (senior citizen rape occurs, but is rare).

Most likely because these women are unattainable for the rapist - either they are too inept to socialize to any degree with them, or they may be able to socialize with them but lack the ability to form meaningful relationships with them and receive affection. Rather than look inward and consider it might be their own fault, they put the blame on "all women" and hold anger towards them in general. These folks typically have bad/abusive/non-existent relationships with their mothers, to no one's surprise.

Rapists generally know ahead of time they are going to do the deed, and they know what "type" they are going to try and get. But some can be discouraged if they can't find easy targets. Just like any criminal, a rapist is more likely to commit the crime if they know there's a good chance they can get away with it. Some will still go ahead and do the crime - but many will back off if they can't find a victim.

That's why taking proper precautions is important. Personal safety is personal safety - we live in an imperfect world filled with people willing to do bad things if the opportunity presents itself. At the end of the day - they are the ones choosing to commit these criminal acts, but we all have the power to make their lives more difficult and their crimes less common.

For guys, that means we have to speak out against misogynism more often, (ie - call out our friends who holler at girls from their cars) just like we would speak out against racism (ie - friends who holler racist crap at people from their cars).

For girls, it means taking proper precautions against would-be rapists. You cannot confuse the "she was asking for it by wearing that skirt" mentality with safety advice such as "wearing skimpy clothing makes you more of a target" Walking home alone at night makes you more a target than taking a cab home with your friends, that doesn't mean that someone giving you that advice is saying you deserve to be raped if you walk home alone.

Even on a practical level - a woman in a flimsy short skirt and heels will be less likely to defend herself than someone in boots, jeans and a leather jacket.

Ideally yes, women should be able to walk home alone at night and not have to worry about anything, and should be able to wear what they want without having to worry about anything, but we don't live in that kind of world yet.
Jarrah / April 4, 2011 at 03:21 pm
The point is that no one has the right to rape someone because of what they're wearing. There is no such thing as asking to be raped. In this day and age women shouldn't be forced to worry about being raped because they're dressed for going out. I'm not sure why this message is getting such a hostile reaction from some people - maybe they didn't go to the protest and are getting a skewed idea from media reports - maybe the idea that a woman might say no to them is scary?

Thanks to all the people who came out to the walk - wish I could've been there and I'm looking forward to the one in Vancouver.
Relevant to Our Interests replying to a comment from Kenneth / April 4, 2011 at 03:21 pm
Kenneth! I'm so sorry! I just saw your comment now! And, oh, is it a doozy.

"Sorry, I'm not the one doing any raping."
CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU ARE A MINIMALLY-DECENT HUMAN BEING. HERE IS YOUR COOKIE. (But are you sure about that? Have you ever had sex with a woman who has been drinking or is otherwise intoxicated? Are you 100%, totally positive that you had enthusiastic consent in all of your sexual encounters to date?)

"Slutwalk did nothing for me. All it does is underscore the shrill nature of this protest."
Ah, yes. If only we women spoke in booming, deep barotones, men would stop raping, amirite?

"Obviously we as males "just aren't getting it", we are so unprogressive that we need this kind of protest to teach us that rape is wrong."
Well, since a number of you keep being rapey, yes?

"This whole issue and anger is misdirected and does nothing to solve the problem."
Actually, anger at police who endorse and promote rape myths when they're supposed to be the ones dispelling and enforcing the law is directed pretty well. YMMV, clearly.

"You want to know what stops 'all the people doing the raping", it's called the law, it's called law enforcement, it's called punishment. It's called - all the things we already have in a modern society to prevent this behavior."

QUOTE: "Approximately 85% of rape victims do not report their
victimization to criminal justice authorities. Of the 15% who do report, it is estimated that perhaps 10% result in the filing of charges, and perhaps 40% of those cases result in some sort of conviction."

"Also, when women say that we can't have a say because we are men, that's like saying white people don't have a say in racism because they don't experience it like minorities do. That's rubbish."
Having to actually shut your damn traps and *listen* to the persepectives and experiences of historically violently-oppressed populations? YOU POOR WHITE MEN. HONESTLY, LIFE IS SO TOUGH FOR YOU. HOWEVER DO YOU GET BY?
Geezzz replying to a comment from Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 03:31 pm
If someone tell you they didn't rape anyone, instantly you don't believe them or question them on it. Seriously you have anger issues, and other issues as well. Maybe you need to go talk to someone, instead yelling at complete strangers on a comment board on a Blog. Many of us male & female think that this display of slutdom yesterday was immature and set back women rights. I talked to a lot of people about this morning and yesterday a very few actually support an idea of a slut walk.
Sean replying to a comment from Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 03:41 pm
While I agree with the super majority of what you have written today in the comment section, when trying to educate someone on the nature of rape, it is probably not a good idea to suggest that they are a rapist.

Well, unless you want that person to continue to disagree with your point of view.
Kudos. / April 4, 2011 at 03:42 pm
I think we should be applauding the Police Officer for saying what he did.

Look what happened. He sparked a dialogue in the "rape community" and it spawned this rally (however misguided it may or may not have been).

If it wasnt for him and his comments this subject would never have been given the air time it has received.

So lets stop bashing the Officer. Because at the end of the day he actually helped the cause.
Ralphie replying to a comment from Geezzz / April 4, 2011 at 03:43 pm
Actually, she didn't come across as yelling, or angry to me, and I doubt she did with most people. Your post is barely coherent however and sounds angsty. Her argument seems to have been well thought out, she has supporting evidence, and she seems to bs rather calm in pointing out the ridulousness of Kenneth's points.

The only part I didn't like was this:

"Having to actually shut your damn traps and *listen* to the persepectives and experiences of historically violently-oppressed populations? YOU POOR WHITE MEN. HONESTLY, LIFE IS SO TOUGH FOR YOU. HOWEVER DO YOU GET BY?"

As a white man I find being lumped in the same group as Kenneth and Geezz to be rather offensive. You don't strengthen your point by putting down a large portion of society, or casting wide nets over people. If you knew how progressive I am, the type of person that I am, you'd not cast such a wide net. You also don't strengthen your argument by diminishing my plight as a human being, the fact that I'm white and male does not necessarily mean my life is easier than yours or that I face less adversity. Your prior arguments were strong, claiming that ALL men have problems with listening and putting out a terribly hard-done-by attitude certainly weakened your position and lowered my opinion of you.
Relevant to Our Interests replying to a comment from Geezzz / April 4, 2011 at 03:44 pm
Actually, I'm pretty sure my rapist would say that he didn't rape me. And not just say it, but actually believe it. Because he's the type that believes those cultural rape myths, and thinks the scary stranger lurking in the shadows attacking women wearing a short skirt is the only rapist that exists. He didn't pull me off the street and attack me in an alley, so it wasn't rape, you see?

Except that it was.
Sean replying to a comment from Sean / April 4, 2011 at 03:49 pm
*to suggest that he is a rapist.
Babies / April 4, 2011 at 03:49 pm
You're all a bunch of babies. Everyone posting, every one retorting. Babies. Shut up, do something positive for this planet, stop being babies!

God damn, what a waste of my life, skimming over these posts. Babies.

Problem that underlies this whole issue is the lack of responsibility taken by the individuals involved. You are too baby baby cry cry about what every one else does. Shut up and take responsibility for yourself. BABY!
Kenneth replying to a comment from Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 03:49 pm
" (But are you sure about that? Have you ever had sex with a woman who has been drinking or is otherwise intoxicated? Are you 100%, totally positive that you had enthusiastic consent in all of your sexual encounters to date?)

Yes I'm 100% sure. Just because I'm a guy does not mean I'm a rapist. Nor "Pro-Rape". Thanks for the cookie.

"Well, since a number of you keep being rapey, yes?"
People also steal and murder, there will always be deviant behavior in any society. I really take offense to the idea that all men are hardwired to accept rape and defend each other against rape. Anyone who disagrees with this position is "pro rape"

"Approximately 85% of rape victims do not report their
victimization to criminal justice authorities."
Great stat. So the onus is on who to report what? I'm not really sure I understand your point with this. Victims should be encouraged to report crimes - period.

"Having to actually shut your damn traps and *listen* to the persepectives and experiences of historically violently-oppressed populations? YOU POOR WHITE MEN. HONESTLY, LIFE IS SO TOUGH FOR YOU. HOWEVER DO YOU GET BY?

I'm not white. I think you should check your assumptions and assertions about men, perhaps it is you who should *listen* more. Right from the start you asked me "whether I had inadvertently raped someone". Please, this is what I hate about everything you talk about... sorry we aren't hardwired to accidentally rape you.

We have to accept that there are dangerous individuals out there, but to imply that there's a huge cultural bias so that some huge percent of the male population agrees with rape is ridiculous.
Empower / April 4, 2011 at 03:52 pm
The police officer in question may have felt he was giving a piece of advice about protection, but it is not really about this one man and his comments. It is about a powerful social belief system based on systemic sexism (ans racism and classism etc) that privileges some and underprivileges others. What is being missed in comments about how women dress is that rape and sexual assault are crimes of power, violence inflicted that is based in a sense of entitlement to women's bodies, societal devaluing of women (women seen as "sluts" in particular are devalued), and the belief that women should always be on guard for attack. What about men who are violent being held responsible for their actions? When we dismantle this oppressive system, and the limiting and prejudiced beliefs embedded in terms like "Slut," what is revealed is the truth. 1 in 4 women in Canada will be raped her lifetime, some more than once. Most women are assaulted by men they know. Elderly women, women with disabilities, and young children are sexually assaulted on a daily basis. The factor of clothing is not relevant to the underlying oppressive systems that make sexual assault possible and so prevalent. We are all operating inside this oppressive system and it is so effective that it is invisible. These limiting beliefs are harmful to everyone, both women and men, in so many ways. The reclaiming of the word "slut" by some of the participants in the march is a controversial part of the march, and not everyone who attended identified as a slut. I think the idea is that this word has long been used to shame female expression of sexuality, as though as women we are obligated to choose between our sexuality and our safety. This, of course is absurd, but is widely perpetuated. Reclaiming 'slut' for some empowers them that there is no shame in sexuality, or in choosing partners that one finds attractive and saying no to others, and having that choice, and having an expectation of safety. We all deserve to be safe. The police officer may have been better to direct his comments to men who assault women, warning them instead. Or he could have taken the time to learn more about the nature of sexual assault so as to be a better support to the students at York and to the women who need to feel supported by police when reporting this violent crime. Some of the comments I have read here are really poisonous and simply create more harm. Instead of making knee-jerk, emotionally fueled, and rage-filled comments that are not based in real understanding, we need to stretch our abilities and perspectives to try to understand that which we have not experienced. That is the only way to create a world free from violence, one that is safe and just for all. One that I hope is possible
Relevant to Our Interests replying to a comment from Ralphie / April 4, 2011 at 03:54 pm
Ralphie, I mean this in a non-snarky way, honestly - dude, if the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it. I'm white, and when my non-white friends bitch about white privilege, I understand that they're not talking about ME. They're talking about trends and patterns in behaviour and attitudes that they've picked up on from their unique experiences. We'm talking about the macro-level, not the micro.
Antony / April 4, 2011 at 03:58 pm
Glad to see such a huge turnout. It will take another decade at least for the statistical evidence to beat back the simpleton common sense of 'dress sexy, your fault'.

Don't get depressed about comments on the internet. Lots of folks have to practice their repertoire of Derailing for Dummies:
Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 04:01 pm
FTR - when I asked "are you sure" above, I wasn't really accusing, but I was asking him to double-check his assumptions, because, I kid you not, I have had good friends talk about how rape is so bad and they'd never do that, but then two minutes later they're telling a story about they had sex with this totally wasted chick that one time, with absolutely no sense that if the girl had to stop to throw up in the middle of the act, that probably meant she was actually too drunk to consent. I'm just saying - sometimes people are totally ignorant about what consent actually means, morally and legally. No accusations intended.
Man / April 4, 2011 at 04:06 pm
I am a man, and have had sex while drunk, with sober women, does that mean i was raped. WOW!
Relevant to Our Interests replying to a comment from Man / April 4, 2011 at 04:30 pm
Possibly, yes. It would depend on the context.
Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 04:34 pm
Rob replying to a comment from Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 04:58 pm
I'm sorry to say that there is a LOT of subjective language in that document.

Just curious what happens if you're intoxicated yourself and therefore unable to properly make these judgment calls?
Gabriel replying to a comment from Angela F. / April 4, 2011 at 05:02 pm
@Angela and anyone with the attitude that dressing in certain types of clothing means you will get sexually assaulted, and its your fault. Sexual violence is a serious problem, and what is at issue here is victim blaming. The use of the word 'slut' in describing a victims clothing choices is problematic because of the connotation of the word 'slut'. It is a essentially a hate word with a vague definition. People are victims of sexual violence regardless of their short skirts and high heels. I'm willing to venture a guess that if you're a woman, and you ascribe to what is stylish according to fashion trends, that you have worn what would be considered slutty. The high heels that make your spine curve unnaturally, sticking out your rear and this not suggestive body positioning an invitation to sex? Is not the blatant drawing attention to what are considered sexual body parts a demonstration of wantonness or the word in question? What about the push-up bra? I mean, this basically pushes up the breasts so they look bigger and have more cleavage; Why would you want to make breasts to be elevated, appear bigger, have more cleavage? Is not this calling attention to one's breasts suggestive of sexual wantonness (or 'slutty'?)
Sexual violence happens even if you're wearing flat shoes and jogging pants. It's not about clothing, its about forcing another person to do something against their will. In fact, another issue is that we treat males as having a somewhat diminished agency and individuality. I mean why else would an adult NOT be responsible for their choices and actions. The belief that clothing choices result in being sexually assaulted is a common, but mistaken belief. This walk is (among other things) a protest against blaming women for getting sexually assaulted.
Karl / April 4, 2011 at 05:03 pm
I just want to say that I think a lot of people are not getting the message of the walk. Yes it started with this police officer, but there is more to it than that. It keeps coming up within media now a days that all have the same notion behind it. She was dressed like she wanted to have sex.

Some people just want to look good for an evening and maybe take home a partner and have consensual sex. Just because showing they're showing some cleavage doesn't mean a man can go and rape them. The officer who said those things is just a small part in a bigger system that believes that women are responsible for their rape.

It was just in the news a few days ago where an 11 year old girl was gang raped by a bunch of 18 year olds and the main argument is that she was dressed "like she was 20" and people of the community felt bad for the rapers because "they would have to live with that the rest of their lives". I don't think children should be wearing make up personally but look at what they watch and consume. Disney princesse, bratz dolls, barbie makeup kits... we teach girls that they need to dress up to be beautiful yet we blame them then when they get attacked. and that what rape is, an attack. As Audre Lorde once said "rape is not aggressive sexuality, it is sexualized aggression".

the slutwalk is trying to get people to realize that you don't rape someone because of what they wear. Not all cops are blaming rape victims, and i understand that he was punished for his crimes. Maybe the slut walk had flaws but look at the world around us.
RMP / April 4, 2011 at 05:15 pm
>Just curious what happens if you're intoxicated yourself
>and therefore unable to properly make these judgment calls?"

You seem confused. Here's a simple feminist rule of thumb: Women have rights, men have responsibilities.
Empower / April 4, 2011 at 05:32 pm
Thanks for the derailing for dummies link! So perfect. It is great to see some intelligent discussion about privilege and oppression on a systemic level. Makes it much easier to look past the bigotry in these comments. Some folks seem to be waiting by their computer to make another toxic comment. So to those who are willing to think critically, I am grateful for your thoughts. And to the organizers of the walk, thank you for speaking out.
mike / April 4, 2011 at 05:34 pm
Guys I'm pretty sure Relevant to Our Interests is just a huge troll and is late for April fools day. Just ignore it and try carrying on a reasonable discussion.
Gabriel replying to a comment from Karl / April 4, 2011 at 05:39 pm
@Karl: Thanks for your comments Karl. This is the issue, and your comments present this very nicely.
Gabriel replying to a comment from RMP / April 4, 2011 at 05:47 pm
@RMP, this is utterly false. But you comments show very clearly show your disdain and misunderstanding of most feminist goals, as well as the issue at hand. Here is a link to a NYTimes article that someone quoted above, it is a good example of what one of the issues is:
Gabriel replying to a comment from Lauren / April 4, 2011 at 05:53 pm

YES LAUREN! Thank you! This is the reality of the situation.

Karl replying to a comment from Gabriel / April 4, 2011 at 05:53 pm
@Gabriel Thanks! I'm just getting tired of some not being able to look deeper into the issue
a self serving friend / April 4, 2011 at 05:58 pm
I guess we should have stopped telling children not to take candy from strangers and just told the strangers not to abduct (and whatever else at that point) the children.....

I'm sure everyone would agree this statement is ridiculous, and yet some of us seem to live in a dream world. My friend was almost assaulted last week. She was walking home alone, late and drunk from a bar through a seedy neighborhood. She was lucky and able to get away from her would be assailant but was also the FIRST TO POINT OUT HOW STUPID SHE HAD BEEN, not taking the necessary precautions. No, she wasn't dressed like a slut, but she knew better then to put herself in that situation. Obviously if this was done by someone she knew nothing would have really helped, but we can't assume that, nor can we assume that all rapes are done by someone the victim knows.

And realistically, if you could do one thing to reduce your chance of becoming a victim (i.e. not taking said candy), wouldn't you?

P.S. Before anyone starts, I do not condone rape and understand we need to address this issue. The rapist is OBVIOUSLY at fault.
Truthandclarity replying to a comment from Relevant to Our Interests / April 4, 2011 at 05:59 pm
Why do you assume I'm white? Interesting bias...
Neil replying to a comment from a self serving friend / April 4, 2011 at 06:09 pm
After a child is kidnapped do you blame them for being kidnapped and let those who took them off with a warning, or better yet, make them write an apology note?
Neil replying to a comment from a self serving friend / April 4, 2011 at 06:10 pm
that was for "a self serving friend".
Tee / April 4, 2011 at 06:12 pm
Don't these people have something better to do? really? smh.
Sam replying to a comment from a self serving friend / April 4, 2011 at 06:14 pm
Do you blame the child who took candy from a stranger for being abducted? and do you let said abductors get away with their crime - or better yet make them write an apology not to the childs parents?
Sam / April 4, 2011 at 06:20 pm
To the person saying that kids shouldn't take candy from strangers. yeah you can prevent rape but society and law enforcement dont blame the child after they are abducted.
a self serving friend replying to a comment from Sam / April 4, 2011 at 07:07 pm
Did you even read what I wrote? (Neil, this goes for you as well.)
Maybe the problem people here are having is taking too many things on at once. What do you want to tackle first?

The fact that some people aren't as on the "up and up" as the rest of you and assume that what someone wears in the ONLY contributing factor to their being victimized?

Or maybe we should focus on SOME of the women that put themselves into unnecessarily dangerous situations?

Maybe, as you have suggested, we should focus on punishing these rapists accordingly?

I, for one, thing we should do all of the above and more!

But since we know that people aren't that educated, that some willingly walk into dangerous situations (for gods sake i'm not saying this is always the case), and that the punishments for such crimes aren't what they should be, any
reasonable individual would consider taking some steps to
(even if slightly) reduce their chances of being victimized.

That's all I'm saying here. I'm not trying to tackle the entire freaking problem. Just one aspect.
If there is a slight chance you could do something to reduce your risk, why wouldn't you? Knowing that the society you live in isn't as perfect as we would hope, wouldn't you try to protect yourself while still fighting these social stigmas?
a self serving friend replying to a comment from Sam / April 4, 2011 at 07:13 pm
Correct. But that's not my point here Sam. And why are we focusing on the aftereffect here? Preventative is key! People
kill, steal, rape, abduct and abuse. If we could prevent this things from happening we wouldn't have to worry about anyone's reaction.
And obliviously teaching kids and young men to respect women is a huge part. (Figured I'd throw that in since it was your obvious response)

If you choose to respond again, how about focusing on a specific comment I've made then something I may have omitted, keeping in mind it was probably omitted since I assumed it was a given. You know, just like thou shalt not kill and the works.
Ratpick / April 4, 2011 at 09:34 pm
I like how there's a Mohawk Nation flag in this march. Staying on-message, I see. Surprised nobody grabbed a megaphone and started protesting diesel trains.

RMP replying to a comment from Gabriel / April 4, 2011 at 09:38 pm
A couple of examples other than the context of the two-drunks-fucking-but-only-one-is-responsible scenario to which I was replying. I have a relative who is a female cop, she tells me (regretfully) on the domestic calls she gets nowadays it's the female more often than not who initiates the physical violence. Now tell me, have you ever heard a feminist suggest that a woman should never hit a man? I haven't. (it's good advice btw).

Just above it's suggested we need to teach boys to respect girls. I agree with that, but have you ever in your life heard the suggestion that girls should be taught to respect boys as well? Never happens. Apparently boys have the responsibility to respect but not the right to be respected. So yes, if you listen to what feminists actually say and do, females have rights and males have responsibilities.

And to be clear, rape is repugnant to me. Rapists have no place in civilized society.
Simon replying to a comment from Angela F. / April 4, 2011 at 09:42 pm
What exactly do you call "dressing like a slut"? That is so subjective. Is it showing a bit of cleavage? Wearing a short skirt? Heels? Have you seen fashion magazines lately? It is ridiculous to use that terminology in this day and age. People who are so-called sluts ie. promiscuous, do not necessarily wear clothes that show it. Have you been to a nudist beach? Shock ! Horror! no clothes at all. Guess what, people don't think its a ticket to rape.

We have to change menspeak. Fathers need to teach sons. Women do not need to be "allowed" to dress the way they want. They deserve equality in their choice of clothes. NO matter what they wear, it is not an open invitation or an excuse for any man to touch them, let alone sexually assault them.
annon / April 4, 2011 at 09:54 pm
I think that programs that teach sex positive education with a focus on consent starting at a young age is a great idea... I also think that everyone considering utilizing their bits and pieces should have to pass, and if some people do not then maybe they should be held back from society for a couple of years or learn how to take a permanent time out from playing with their toys. No need for name calling or "he said, she said".

While my purpose of going did not stem from wanting to parade around and identify myself as a "slut" publicly and objectify myself for the masses... The term that the police officer used did offend me... What does a "slut" look like to that specific police officer? A woman who appears "unclean"? "rough"? "impure"? Because these words are all adjectives to describe the way I felt after I was raped. To me, someone who is a "slut" seeks out and enjoys consensual sexual fulfilment. Don't you see something wrong here?
Kayoh / April 4, 2011 at 10:20 pm
Fabulous photos! You covered this really well :)
Gabriel replying to a comment from RMP / April 4, 2011 at 11:37 pm
@RMP: I am not sure which feminist works or positions you are referring to, but I can say that the view that feminism is about the subjugation of men is false. I have heard and read feminist positions that are proponents of mutual respect, recognition and responsibility. In fact, this is the majority of what I have encountered. Males and females alike, and this is not novel. It has been around since the beginning of the movement, and equality is one of the major goals; where equality means equal rights, responsibility and recognition. However, like any significant political movement, it is made up of individuals, and different groups with a variety of backgrounds, motivations and interests. So, there is bound to be diversity. The Status of Women in Canada on the introductory page presents what can be considered core feminist values.
With regards to the spousal abuse, I agree that it is a serious issue, and I am aware that violence against men is a serious and under reported issue. Abuse is unacceptable, regardless of who the abuser is. However, this protest is a response (at least in part) to the view that dressing in a certain way has an impact on the statistically probability of a woman being raped.It does not, and that's just the issue. One of the commentators above, name Lauren said it pretty well:

Gabriel replying to a comment from Ed / April 4, 2011 at 11:45 pm
@ED: Thank you for the TedTalk post. It is very good.
Julia / April 5, 2011 at 02:47 am
A man would be able to go in just boxers or briefs to a party without worrying about his safety. Thats the difference. And it's not okay.
RMP replying to a comment from Gabriel / April 5, 2011 at 09:20 am
Sorry Gabriel, apparently my opinions are not welcome here so I won't be replying to any more comments. The moderator has informed me in email that a bunch of my posts (a couple of which were totally innocuous) were removed on the basis I use a GMail account therefore they've determined I "don't care enough about my comments".

This is the particular post in question which was characterized as "dubious":
We're bringing up a whole generation of self-absorbed females who have no idea what the word responsibility means ... let alone the word classy. -RMP

Apparently anonymity is only allowed when the moderators feel like allowing it.

Rob replying to a comment from RMP / April 5, 2011 at 09:34 am
This is very typical of the left-wing concept of "free speech". It's only free when you agree. Otherwise it's "hateful" and must be censored.
fattest / April 5, 2011 at 09:36 am
The other evening I was at an intersection wanting to make a right turn at a red light, and a lady wearing next to nothing was standing on the road a foot or two from the curb so I couldn't make my turn. I honked and politely gestured that she move to the curb so I could go through, she gave me the finger. I stopped next to her, rolled down my window and asked "How much for an hour?", and she began barking at me as she was not, as her clothes would have indicated, a prostitute. I had no intention to rape this particular lady, but was I wrong in assuming her occupation?
Derek replying to a comment from RMP / April 5, 2011 at 09:40 am
That is not, of course, why your posts were removed.

In response to your questioning of why your comment didn't appear on the site, this is what I wrote:

"Thanks for the feedback. With this post in particular we put a higher number of comments into moderation so as to deal with a deluge of offensive responses. It's not surprising that a few dubious ones were picked up in the process.

But, to be honest, it's tough to take you completely seriously given that you've written us from an anonymous email address. How much could you possibly care about the comment you made if you're unwilling to stand behind it in a transparent manner?"

The first paragraph explains why your post was put into moderation, which isn't the same as permanent removal. It's an action we take so we can get a handle on active and controversial threads. Many of these comments re-appear once one of our staff actually has the time to comb through them (note: this doesn't always happen overnight).

The second paragraph, on the other hand, questions your integrity.
RMP replying to a comment from Derek / April 5, 2011 at 09:54 am

This post is dubious? Really?
We're bringing up a whole generation of self-absorbed females who have no idea what the word responsibility means ... let alone the word classy. -RMP

Regardless, I'm out of here. Have fun enforcing your concept of freedom of speech.
Simon replying to a comment from fattest / April 5, 2011 at 01:04 pm
@fattest - your post is irrelevant. Rapists look for vulnerable people they can overpower and force themselves into. She sounds like a woman who can take care of herself. What she was wearing was none of your business and you were rude enough to insult a perfect stranger.
Michael / April 5, 2011 at 07:10 pm
absolutely ridiculous. starting a riot over a comment made by one person, yet ignoring the actual issue of rape itself and turning things into a gender war was a real brilliant move. if a woman wants to behave promiscuously (insofar as they have sex with many people) then they're perfectly free to do so. legally, they have the right to do so. it's pathetic and disgusting for them to engage in such so-called "liberating" behaviour, and i have no respect for the characters of those who do so, but i don't think anyone here is claiming that they should be banned.

what annoys me is that this walk was based on such vague and tenuous grounds (seriously, one police officer says something and all of womankind takes issue? really?) given that barely anyone actually thinks rape is good (even the officer in question was trying to give honest tips, not blame women. it was a matter of LIKELIHOOD, not some sort of absolute rule).

if women dress like "sluts," whatever society's notion of that is, it DOES alter the perception of passers-by insofar as they might be an easy lay. i think this could easily increase the number of fringe rapes, wherein someone who's in reality just a player pushes a girl a bit too hard and becomes a rapist. this is different from serial rape, so stop lumping them together. so in a sense, yes, it is more likely that you'll get raped if you dress in revealing clothing, but i think the chance is pretty negligible.

EITHER WAY: slutwalk is an embarrassment to feminism in its pettiness, divisiveness, and pseudo-liberation. being a unique and equal individual doesn't mean you have to sleep around to prove it, nor does it disallow people from thinking less of you if you do.
winning replying to a comment from Michael / April 5, 2011 at 07:23 pm
Michael for the win !

End of thread.
Sue replying to a comment from Michael / April 6, 2011 at 08:49 am
Michael - wrong on two counts. Firstly, it wasn't a riot by any shape of the imagination and secondly, it wasn't about one person's comment. It was a walk of solidarity with a very diverse group of people which included men. I noticed some very vocal men some of whom came with girlfriends and wives. They understood that it is about changing our language. It doesn't matter if someone is a slut, they still have the right to say no. Being a "so-called" slut is about a lifestyle not a dress code. The fact is that although this one policeman said it, a lot of men use the same language on a regular basis. What it means is....."she was asking for it". A woman should not have to censor her self-expression in clothing to suit someone's idea of NOT dressing slutty.

Most of sexual assault and molestation is from males that the victim (whether its a child or an adult)knows. Usually when the perpetrator has the opportunity to be alone with the victim. If victims are to feel comfortable enough to come forward and report the assault, we have to recognize that this aspect that they were "asking for it" has to be taken out of the equation. No one asks for a violent act on their person. It is degrading and makes you feel like nothing. Even though the women's movement has, over the last hundred years, managed to change a lot of things....patriarchal language still persists. That is what the walk was about. It was positive and peaceful. Whether an individual sleeps around is their own business and has no bearing on another individual forcing themselves on them and invading their body.
ESAD replying to a comment from Sue / April 6, 2011 at 08:56 am

Where were all these "sluts" before the cop made any comment?

One person says something and they take it to the streets to "take the word" back. GTFO.

Rapes been around since the dawn on time and they wait till now to try and make some point.

Sue replying to a comment from ESAD / April 6, 2011 at 09:41 am
Apparently you have difficulty with reading comprehension. Slut is patriarchal language that has been around for centuries. The idea that women are either 'Madonna' or 'Whore' is archaic. Lots of modern men understand that it is. However, there are also others who persist in the stereotypes as if that has a bearing on whether females get raped or not. Its not about one person saying it.
Michael / April 6, 2011 at 10:39 am
still irrelevant. being patriarchal is not a crime. whether or not you believe men should behave in a particular way says nothing about what they actually do. the propagation of stereotype is, in many cases, a bad thing, but to censor those who propagate them is actually a worse sin, because freedom of thought and speech lies at the center of any free society.

a woman doesn't have to censor themselves to appease someone else's perception of their sluttiness. they've never HAD to. if they had an ounce of security, they'd let the comments of other wash over them like nothing. if someone sees a girl dressed in a way that he or she perceives is provocative, and the person says to themselves "wow, what a slut," that person is doing nothing more than making a character judgment. the woman in question doesn't HAVE to censor herself, but she must be aware that should she choose not to censor herself, people will continue to form various opinions about her. THAT'S LIFE. people judge other people all the time, and anyone who claims that human beings can suddenly stop forming gut-reactions to the things they see is deluding themselves.

quibbling over stupidity like 'our language' is a waste of energy. what's so patriarchal about the word slut? is it really so bizarre to consider a woman sleeping around to be a rather pathetic person? i'm not sure what you imagine the outcome of this protest could be. do you seriously expect that people are going to start saying things like "gee, that person has sex with a different person every day! wow, that's really awesome." whether or not your personal morality delineates particular repercussions for promiscuity is your own choice, but neither your nor any other person can deny people their right to think less of people who make poor decisions.
meanse are the ends replying to a comment from Billy / April 6, 2011 at 03:50 pm
I call total Bullshit on Billy, who says

"I am a gay woman with a PhD in feminist studies"

I am a straight woman with a PhD in psychology, and I would bet every penny I possess that not one of the attributes 'Billy' asserts is true.

Stop hiding Billy, and own your misogyny.
Sue replying to a comment from Michael / April 6, 2011 at 10:37 pm
Sure, we all have a right to free speech. You have a right to be judgemental about what you believe being a slut means even if you are wrong. Just because someone wears a short skirt does not mean that the person is having sex every night with a different person. Therein lies the root of the problem with this label. You cannot label someone's lifestyle by the clothes they wear. You say that women don't have to censor what they wear but it is patently obvious that women do, or be labelled by those "superior" beings out there who have decided that they are the arbiters of decency based on ... clothing.

Rapists cause rape. Clothing (or lack there of) does not
michael / April 6, 2011 at 10:39 pm
your condescension is annoying. if someone thinks you're indecent, it's their call.
Sue replying to a comment from michael / April 6, 2011 at 11:00 pm
That totally made me laugh out loud. You are calling me condescending? Since decency is subjective, it has no bearing on this argument. I reiterate - rapists cause rape. Clothing (or lack there of) does not
Right2Life / April 7, 2011 at 12:43 am
"A rapist forgoes semantics."
-Charles Darwin
michael / April 7, 2011 at 06:54 am
you're making a sort of categorical error when you talk about decency being subjective. it's a qualitative judgment as opposed to a quantitative one, but that doesn't mean there aren't general lines which, when crossed, shift the majority of the world's perception into the realm of indecent. you're confusing discreteness (in a mathematical sense) with objectivity.
michael / April 7, 2011 at 06:57 am
as an analogy, consider the evolutionary history of human beings: there do exist humans, and there certainly exist ancestors of humans such as the homo erectus. there is no properly definable instant when one ceases to be and transforms into the other. rather, the shift is subtle and qualitative and non-discrete, and yet, it describes something which is quite real.
VM / April 7, 2011 at 09:09 am
Michael, you sound like a very defensive and insecure person.

Of course you have the right to hold the archaic and patriarchal belief that a woman who chooses to have sex with multiple partners is "indecent," but to assume that you can accurately judge the amount of sexual partners a woman has had by what she is wearing is completely asinine.

Please be aware that defending your right to judge a woman for being "indecent" based on her clothing in a thread about how slut-shaming leads to victim-blaming makes you look like a rape apologist.
Lizz replying to a comment from Mike / April 7, 2011 at 01:17 pm
"he was offerring a tidbit of advice on how to REDUCE the risk...."

Saying that the clothing you wear "reduces the risk" of rape assumes that rape is a constant, unchangeable force. Rape isn't something that must exist in our society no matter what we do to change it. It does not occur as an act of God or nature. Committing rape is a choice that is made by a rapist. Accepting that rape will always happen is a choice you've made.
Lizz replying to a comment from Heah / April 7, 2011 at 01:19 pm
Thanks, Heah. You should also checking out this other post on defining "slut"
keven replying to a comment from Lizz / April 7, 2011 at 03:25 pm
Amazing article! Thanks Lizz for all your awesome insight!
Gabriel replying to a comment from Lizz / April 8, 2011 at 03:03 am
Excellent article, Lizz! I agree with Keven.
Katie / April 8, 2011 at 11:20 am
Seriously, I am highly opposed to this march, and the fact that people are bringing even more derogatory terms to the debate.
specifically 'i'm a dyke, and a slut'
way to alienate yourself, and make everyone wonder why you are even at the march...

i have been gang raped before... and it had nothing to do with the clothing that i had on... but everything to do with me not realizing what a terrible situation i was about to enter into... do i feel any desire to participate in a slut march? NO. do i feel uncomfortable wearing revealing clothing, sometimes... particularly when walking home late at night.
there is a reason the officer made this comment.

people get too wound up over things that people in respected positions say... instead of looking at the issues at hand. THE RAPISTS. wouldn't you want to take any advice offered from someone to feel more protected...

i'm sure people that live in the amazon want to go swimming all the time, but they can't because there are masses of creatures that will eat them. suck it up.
Michael / April 8, 2011 at 02:27 pm
Why exactly are my comments being removed without any notification or reason given?
Sheesh / April 8, 2011 at 03:14 pm
Michael your comments are still there - scroll up.
Ashley replying to a comment from Katie / April 8, 2011 at 06:06 pm
What that particular policeman said, perpetuates and gives credence to the myth that “she asked for it”. A girl in a short skirt dancing to the music on a dance floor is, “in their minds”, asking to be assaulted. This is why sexual assault is the most unreported crime. This is 2011, it’s time we acknowledge that people’s sex lives are none of our business and everyone has the freedom to wear whatever the hell they want to wear. Perpetrators choose victims who are vulnerable ie. weaker, alone and easy to overpower. Giving tips about having a buddy system are helpful but making judgmental remarks about clothing are not.
Michael / April 8, 2011 at 10:12 pm
two of my rejoinders have been deleted. not sure why.
SweetieDarling / April 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm
None of this should surprise any of us. How women look and act has long been a legal defence for rape. The law was designed by men, to protect men's interests. Men have an interest in protecting their access to women's bodies. The law can not openly endorse rape, but agents of the law can subversively maintain the culture that makes it normal, from a social and legal standpoint.

One means of protecting their ideology is saddling the responsibility for rape on women.

In this case, this comment was made in the context of a meeting where the police were supposed to be giving tips on how to avoid getting raped. Who initiated this meeting? Was this what the police had to offer concerned women? The very premise of that meeting is misogynist, because it cements the ideology that rape is normal, and if women don't like it, they can somehow avoid it by not provoking it.

The police do have a responsibility to consider how their messaging will be received by their audience. The fact that it clearly never entered the organizers' or officer's minds that their approach and that comment would offend the audience further reveals the mentality of the justice system. A more useful approach would have been for the police to have presented a strategy for contributing to rape reduction, such as educational programs or increased police presence and so on. THAT would have demonstrated support for women's interests.

Finally, since most people seem to have missed the point of this protest entirely. It wasn't to reclaim the word slut, and it wasn't to encourage women to dress in any particular way. The point was to protest the overall idea that women are responsible for what men do to them, which was the message that was received following that officer's comment.
Michael / April 9, 2011 at 06:41 pm
SweetieDarling, as much as I think that rape is a bad thing, your neo-feminism is grating. "Men" do not have an interest into protecting their access to women's bodies. The only people who have stake in such a thing are rapists. Regular men don't have any "access" to women's bodies, nor do they care enough to force it. So basically, you're generalizing here.

To say that men, the police, or people in general think rape is "normal" and that evil misogynists are trying to "subversively maintain the culture that makes it normal" is ridiculous. I hope you realize that you implied that society wishes to make rape ordinary because men in general support rape. If this is actually what you think, then that's more offensive than anything the police officer said.

A meeting on how to avoid getting raped is not bad in itself. There are valid ways to minimize your chances of getting raped. For example, don't walk in high-crime areas at 3am all by yourself. Don't try to provoke arguments with groups or individuals. These are both valid ways to decrease the chance of getting raped. It's not so much that you "deserve" to be raped if you do one of these things, but that you made a foolish decision nonetheless.

One police officer does not speak for the entirety of law enforcement,especially not some regular grunt.

Attempting to minimize the scope of the protest after stating that men are conspiring to make rape as permissible as possible under the law is hypocritical. If you want to say that the protest was about one man's comment, then go for it. I'll reply that you're overreacting. If you want to spew the 4 previous paragraphs, then I'll reply as I have. You can't have it both ways.
yt / April 9, 2011 at 09:49 pm

i know there are people on here who have been raped and have shared their experience. to those: thank-you.

with that said, some people aren't seeming to 'hear' what you're saying - and so maybe someone could share more social science research to back up the arguments being made here? at this point, the argument is pitting the experiences of victims, versus (the) police officers' observations.

Eric26 / April 10, 2011 at 08:44 pm
I am guilty of regularly "slut shaming" my friends. I do it with no regard for gender, however. It's more often that I call my male friends dirty, despicable sluts actually.
Chris / April 11, 2011 at 12:40 am
Do you want to stop sexual harassment in schools, hospitals, social services and the police. If you can not attend, please consider passing this email on to your friends who care about our future.
May 5 Legislative Assembly, Second Reading of Ombudsman Oversight Bill
Facebook connection:;index=1
BRUCEKIDONE / April 11, 2011 at 05:14 am
FOR LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!
Jennifer / April 27, 2011 at 09:17 am
@BruceKidOne - I know her. She lives in Aurora.
April / April 30, 2011 at 03:10 am
Travis Young / April 30, 2011 at 03:14 am

Luai / August 13, 2012 at 07:34 pm
The only way to prevent pregnancy is to stop having sex.
(Introduce "the pill", "abortions without parental permission", "free condoms.")

Huh, so our solution to ending teen pregnancy is to create situations where there is no consequence to having sex AND to have the media present teen sex as NORMAL, HEALTHY, and "if you don't do it, you're a prude."

What about men? They have been having sex like rabbits for ages with no consequences. I understand that my fellow women feel that it is an injustice to allow men to be sluts while they are stuck at home... but take a look at "women who rape men." It does not exist. Men cannot understand why a man (who is culturally portrayed as a slut) would EVER care about having sex with a woman.

But our solution was not to refuse men. It was not to push hormonal regimens on men to regulate their libido. It was to ACT like men, to BECOME sex toys... to become sluts.

How then, KNOWING that men do not accept "women rapists" would you believe that perpetrating this belief that women are sex toys would change their resolve about rape? If you dress like a sex toy in public, you do not get to pick and choose who "benefits" from your appearance; and even though you may never suffer from rape, a man may be driven to rape a fellow woman from the message you are so clearly broadcasting:

"I am a sex toy, I exist purely for sexual satisfaction... but I will never have sex with you, FREAK."

The solution is not to defend your right to act like men, but to REJECT the very being that men are. The only people who benefit from personifying women as sex toys, with slutty clothing, abortions, and birth control are MEN. Feminism has been contorted BY men to turn women into the sex toys they are today.
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