SlutWalk: Coming To A Street Near You Soon

On 11 June, to be precise. For the uninitiated, SlutWalk is a series of international protests sparked by a Canadian policeman advising female students to avoid dressing ‘like sluts’ if they wish to avoid sexual assault and rape.

The idea behind the protest is to draw attention to the fact that sex crimes are one of the few where the tendency is to seek out so-called ‘contributory behaviour’ to the crime from the victim. We thought the bad old days of the mini-skirt = she was asking for it defence were in the past, but the disgraceful comments from the police officer, Michael Sanguinetti, demonstrate that even the police are prepared to resort to excusing abusers.

Allegedly provocative clothing is just one of the reasons people, even women, find to cast blame on the victim:

‘She was drunk and flirting’
‘I thought she fancied me’
‘She came back to my flat with me’
‘She regretted it in the morning and cried rape’

Just why is it so hard for people to accept that a rapist is exactly that – a rapist? A victim of car crime isn’t blamed, a victim of burglary isn’t blamed, yet somehow we think that dressing up to go out and having a few drinks means we are natural targets.

Last year, a survey showed that 75% of women believed a victim responsible if she got into bed with her assailant. 33% believed a victim responsible if she dressed provocatively or went back to the assailant’s house. This was in 2010, believe it or not.

It’s actually pretty easy to work out where you draw the line. The SlutWalk website spells it out pretty clearly for anyone needing clarification:

‘Let’s raise our voices and tell the world that rape is never, ever OK. Not if she was wearing a miniskirt. Not if she was naked. Not if she was your wife, girlfriend or friend. Not if she was a prostitute. Not if she was drunk. Not if you thought she wanted to.’

The London SlutWalk is organised by a 17 year old student, Anastasia Richardson. It’s being held on 11 June and starts in Trafalgar Square. Facebook group here.


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