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Slutwalk An opportunity for reasoned discussion, or just more sexist trolling

#1 User is offline   J m HofMarN Icon

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 10:34 PM

So, for those who aren't Canadian, or don't follow international ridiculous news as much as me, a cop in Toronto is in deep shit because he happened to make a comment along the old absurd line that if you dont want to get raped, you shouldn't "dress like a slut"... to a room full of college students and professors. Here's the story http://ottawa.ctv.ca...?hub=OttawaHome

Question: Was it right of him to say that in the context of safety assuming maybe he'd used less offensive terms?
Is it wrong that a woman is considered to have put herself in danger or, in some views, invited rape, just by revealing her feminine form? And if she invited it to that extent, doesnt that make it not rape anymore in the first place if youre going to follow that logic?
Should people indeed try to cover their bodies completely so as to avoid sexual assault? Does anyone really think this would have an impact on sex crimes against women or anyone?
And finally, what should be done with this officer who made the comments?

For me, I think that from a purely safety perspective, it wasn't necessarily wrong to give that advice, though it could have been done in a much more sensitive manner. Anything that might prevent sexual assault should have been looked at. However, I think "don't look like you want it" should have been down near the bottom of the list after more sensible advice, and that accusation that the victim in even the slightest way could provoke such a crime is definitely fallacious . A rapist is going to rape. If you're a woman alone in a dark, poorly lit alley with a rapist, you can be dressed however you want. The criminal has the impetus, not the victim. Does anyone really picture a sex offender saying "Well, I could... but darn, she just looks so nice and proper, I guess I'll just do some rape later..." Absurd.

I'd say that indicating that showing a womanly appearance, or perhaps a masculine appearance, is invitation to rape is a justification and a criminalization of the victims of sexual assault that needs to be avoided. Western society has passed beyond the need for burqas and veils, but we still have that sort of mentality in us somewhere as this shows.

As for the officer in question, I'd just suggest that he go to some kind of training to make him aware of at least some basic womens' rights ideas. I know most police officers don't have a high opinion of sex offenders, so I dont think he was trying to justify that sort of thing the way some people do, but if you look at some police, you'll see that if a victim fits what they percieve as the profile of a "slut" theyre not going to take things like missing persons or rape claims seriously, because they figure she invited whatever happened. It's an unfair judgment that really needs to be stamped out.

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 10:34 PM

In a practical sense? Yes, she might have avoided being assaulted if she had dressed more conservatively.

In an ethical sense? Rape is still rape, and so far as I know, crimes are weighed the same regardless as to how easy or attractive it may be to commit it. One may as well blame a victim of a mugging for not carrying a gun, or the victim of a robbery for not having a better security system.

I would disagree that training will help this officer. Bad apples are bad apples. Unfortunately, many police officers are there for the power and control over people, to be able to legally exercise aggression in ways they otherwise couldn't. If you have an honest desire to keep crime off the streets, you might become a social worker. If you just want to have power over people, you may just become a police officer.
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Posted 06 June 2011 - 03:03 PM

When it comes to issues of whether or not the victim is at fault for something I generally see it kind of goes both ways. On the one hand, it is ridiculous to be blaming the victim for the evil impulses of others and their choice to act on those impulses. The perpetrator's decision making ability was not suddenly taken away from them. Unless the victim somehow had a hand in shaping or raising this other person, then they really can't be blamed for what that other person does.

And of course, it is possible to have many other factors in play. I think we live in a world black, white, and many grays in between. But even then, when you come down to it, it was the decision made on the part of the perpetrator. The victim did not, for instance, decide that they wanted to be raped. I'm under the general impression that no one out there wants to be raped.

Now, on the other hand, the questions raised make me think of sharks. If there is blood in the water, sharks will go for it.

Appearance is a really big thing with humans. We are visual creatures. There are many, many things you can guess about a person just by looking at them for a moment. Now the thought process might not jump to the foreground of your mind, but there are lots of little comparisons that go on when you see someone and relate what you see to past experiences. Someone who dresses in a sexually suggestive manner is saying many things. They want to be looked at, they want to be noticed, they want to be found attractive, and they want to have sex. The way a person feels can change from moment to moment, but their appearance is broadcasting to all those that see them of what the intentions and desires they want the world to perceive are.

In the context of what we're talking about, I am reminded of the women out there that purposefully dress in a way that shows off their breasts, and then get angry when people look at their breasts. I hate when people do that, because itís exactly what they wanted. Well not exactly, because they end up with people looking at them that they didn't want to. They donít want guys that aren't attractive enough for them or some crap. Itís like an artist that puts out work on display for everyone to see, and then says that they only want certain people to look at it. Life just doesn't work like that.

As a side note, I personally believe there are ways of dressing that can have you looking hot, gorgeous, attractive, sexy, etc while still retaining your dignity and showing that you don't need the self-esteem boost brought on from all the attention you'd be getting.

Really though, I don't think appearance is as big of a factor as itís purported to be. And I'm quite certain that if you could see what many people (both men and women) were wearing when they were raped, you would consider it conservative enough. I think if anything it is that the victim put themselves in a bad situation, or allowed themselves to be put in/brought into a bad situation. We live in a very dangerous world. To ignore those dangers or pretend they don't exist is pure folly.

What kind of places do you frequent? Are they disreputable places? Do you go alone or with other people? Are the people you go with friends? Are they people you can trust and depend on to look out for you if trouble arises. Were you consuming alcohol or taking drugs? Did you take enough that it would severely inhibit your ability to protect yourself and react to danger? If you go to a party hosted by strangers, do you trust them enough not to screw with you? If trouble is brewing, do you have a safe and reliable means of leaving where ever you are? Do you have someone to check in with or have you let anyone know where you were going? And on and on and on.

This is the reality of our world. To not react to it means you are perhaps irresponsible for your own wellbeing and either naive or dumb. For example, I could continuously run out in front of moving vehicles. Many times I might be fast enough to get by or lucky enough that the driver reacts in time. But if I do it often enough, eventually a car is going to hit me. Or perhaps this is a better example: We all know that intoxication makes it more difficult and more dangerous to drive. We all know that a lot of crash related deaths and injuries were the result of someone driving a vehicle while under the effects of intoxication. And yet, people still drive while intoxicated or ride in a vehicle where the driver is intoxicated all the time. These people must think "Oh, I'll be fine." or, "Oh, the bad stuff only happens to other people and not me." Then wham! And now they could be dead, their friends could be dead, strangers, other people, people with families, and yet, and yet we just don't stop.

So, if you put yourself in a bad situation, or allowed yourself to be led or placed into it, then yes, it is your fault for ending up there. If something terrible does happen, then you will be reaping the consequences. This is in fact, not always how it goes though. You could do everything right and still become the victim of another person's evil deeds. And even if you did get yourself in a bad situation, I still don't understand how that magically excuses the rapist's decision to rape you. They did what they did, and they were wrong. To somehow say that another person being there mitigates the decision that they made is like goes up to a stranger, murdering them, and then saying "They were standing in front of me," as though it were a valid excuse.

To note, yes, I do realize that there are many different situations under which a rape can occur and I am generalizing and not covering all of them. But what is being discussed is the kind of situations where appearance is possibly a factor. For example, there is a sex slave trade out there. But I'm pretty certain that no matter how they are dressed, the slaves will be raped regardless. You could be a mental patient and someone in a position to do so has been raping you. Another case in which how you dress, probably isn't a factor. Or you could be a child, one who is without the abilities necessary to work towards keeping yourself safe.

To repeat, I am not trying to cover every single instance of rape that has ever occured. I'm only talking about a portion of it.
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Posted 07 June 2011 - 12:27 AM

It's more than that, really. A good many rape victims had some interaction with their attacker beforehand. So if it's unsafe to go to a bar and flash $100 bills around before leaving alone, then it is unsafe to dress provocatively, flirt even lightly, and leave alone.

Of course there are better ways to say it. But if what people hope to gain from the "slut walk" is a world where women can walk about, alone, at night, dressed however they like, without ever having any fear of attack from any source ever, then they are living in a fantasy world. How could any sort of march result in that?
"I had a lot of different ideas. At one point, Luke, Leia and Ben were all going to be little people, and we did screen tests to see if we could do that." -George Lucas, in STAR WARS: the Annotated Screenplays (p197).
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#5 User is offline   J m HofMarN Icon

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 03:07 AM

I think the point of it isn't to make the streets totally safe, as that's kind of difficult, but it's more to say to authority figures, typically male authority figures, that sexual assault is something that needs to be taken seriously regardless of who its purpetrated against or how they dressed. Saying that dressing like a slut will get you raped is just a small slippery slope away from saying that if you dress like that you must want it. And, ok, if someone wanted to be raped, why bother investigating their complaints? There's real crime afoot!

So, to me, that's the point of this thing, and I really support that. If my jeans ride low, and someone sees my ass, I don't expect it to stir them into a rape frenzy. If a woman's boob should pop out, same deal.

Ex: Nudist colonies: I've heard less about rape occuring in them than I have about in the US army, which is (allegedly) solely made to enable it. So, yeah, the mere sight of the female or male body is not an invitation to rape. I would say that avoiding situations where bad things could occur would definitely be better advice than "don't dress like a slut".

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 02:04 PM

You can put lipstick on it all you like, but the goal of something like Slutwalk is simple: to make it permanently and always safe for any woman to go anywhere she likes, at any hour, no matter what. And yeah, that'd be great, but we don't live in the Bubblegum Forest. We live in a world with humans, and even public places full of thousands of people can suddenly turn mad with violence and burning if say, a hockey team loses a game. To those who like to blame the police whenever there is public violence: in the videos I saw, the police were nowhere to be seen. So yeah, maybe their fault, but not the way people usually like to say. I don't know exactly how that got started, but it wasn't the police.

Anyway, I'd like it if women were safer, but it wasn't the judge saying those words after the fact that caused that woman to be attacked. If I put myself in an unsafe place, and I am attacked, I don't look to blame the judges or the media. I blame my attacker. And supporting a march aimed at changing the way judges and the media speak about my attack will not make future attacks less likely. Slutwalk will be fun, and to some it will "raise awareness" of the "real issue of male violence against women" (ie it will make some women hate men for a while, many for no good reason, and maybe we'll go back to being uncomfortable about opening doors for strangers). In the end it will reduce violence against women not one bit. Some people are violent, and statistically a woman alone dressed up for the club walking through a quiet and unlit area is taking a chance. If she happens to pass near a man who has criminal intent, her best weapon against being attacked would be not to have been there in the first place, brazenly empowered by her recent "Slutwalk." Her least valuable weapon will be that public event that occurred that time in that other place. And when she is attacked, if her first thoughts are to some judge in some case who said some thing, then she doesn't understand why people commit violence. Hint: it's not because judges told them it was ok. Criminals don't take their orders from judges.
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#7 User is offline   J m HofMarN Icon

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 03:28 AM

I really have to disagree on this point. I think if you asked people who were attending whether the goal was to
A: End rape forever
or
B: Make it clear that the victim is not to be blamed based upon their clothing

most would say B. I read no anti-male bias into any of the statements to come from the promoters of these events. Why should an anti-rape theme be anti-male? Is it possible that a male could be a victim of sexual assault? Indeed it is. There are a lot of themes being inserted into this that just aren't there. However, assuming that the event is not meant as a feminist empowerment thingy, or to end sexual assault in all its forms, what do you think its effect on the law enforcement community would be? Would it be similarly negatory as its effect on sexual assault in general, or do you think that it might have some positive effect on pursuit of individuals committing these crimes, even if said crime is being committed against those who may have, in the view of some, deserved it for how they dressed?

In response to such view, I again say "Nudist colonies"

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 12:28 PM

I think the effect of the Slutwalk on law enforcement will be zero. I am old enough to have seen a few of these things already. I recall the males-not-invited "Take Back the Night" event, aimed at making night time safer for women. It was a gathering of women (eventually, in its second year, men were invited, after media mockery exposed the nonsense of asking for a safer world for women while telling men to fuck off - create your own analogy). Anyway, the event that inspired the "Take Back the Night" gathering was a mass murder of 14 women in a public place in daytime by a man armed with an automatic rifle. So you see, these things seldom make sense. If the entire goal of slutwalk was to make judges watch how they speak, then it will probably do fine. But that is not its goal, and that is not why people will attend. Many will attend hoping to make the world safer for women; many others will attend because it will be fun, or a spectacle.

Of course if you worded the question as you did, everyone would say B. But there are ways to word your question that will prove my point rather than yours. Biased surveys should not be trusted.

Are you attending Slutwalk to

A : Draw attention to a recent court case where a judge blamed a rape victim for her clothing choices; or

B : Raise awareness of public dangers and to show lawmakers that the public takes sexual assault seriously, so as to increase protection for women and reduce chances of assault (eg better informed law-enforcement, more street lights, stronger sentencing for perpetrators of assault, etc).

C : Everyone else is doing it, and/or my girlfriend wanted me to go.

Honest respondents will answer B or C far more than A.

Nudist colonies? This sounds a little like a Cobnat defense. Because if you are describing intentional communities of like-minded individuals, who can be evicted by council decision and who only get in after an interview, yeah, I think if society were like that there might be some difference in the stats of certain crimes. For one, race hatred would be down for sure, since most of these intentional communities are whites-only. But if you're talking about places in the city where any member of the public can show up and where women are encouraged to go nude or semi-clothed, like a nude beach or a midnight screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, yeah those places are full of creepers, and many women who regularly attend public nude beaches have been followed home by someone. I know a few women who have Wreck Beach stories (and one case of rape after a screening of RHPS). So ... let me know which defense you're using. If you're saying intentional communities, then I will retort by saying that the Amish, another intentional community, have similarly low rape stats. And I will conclude with a big fat so what? If you're saying nude beaches and such-like, I will say no.

Anyway, attending the site put out by the organizers of the event, their stated goals are to change the minds of law enforcement, so that even when a man is being convicted of sexual assault, no one may ever offer the victim any sort of advice, ie stop walking alone along that same path you take every day from work, wearing that skimpy dress that earns you the extra tips. You will be safer if you take a different route, or at least put some pants on. Predictability in behaviour and appearance leads to victimization. Say something like that, and you are going to be labeled a sexist. Imagine if a judge were to tell a man stabbed in a bar something like "stop mouthing off so much and you may not get stabbed next time." I would demand a march!

Yeah yeah, enjoyment of sexuality is not the same as wanting to be raped, as if anyone actually needed to be told that. But enjoyment of sexuality should also be not the same as putting a t-shirt on your 7-year-old daughter that reads "Future Slut." Something funny happened to the feminist movement in North America, where it went from bra-burning and refusing to be male eye candy, to where female competitiveness kicked in and now the rhetoric is "I should be allowed to be the most mouth-watering eye candy I want to be! And while men are supposed to be attracted to it, I want to make sure that only the men I allow to look at me have the right to do so!" Contemporary feminism is nutty. Dressed a certain way, a woman is gonna get looked at. Looked at enough, she will be looked at by a creep. Looked at by enough creeps, she will be attacked. It's as common-sense as saying "Drive your bike over a certain speed, you will eventually get into an accident." It's statistics. So much for trying to give someone some sensible advice. So yeah, ladies, wear that "Abuse me" shirt when your "Part-Time Porn Star" half-tee is in the wash. I promise I will never look at you, and neither will anyone else, especially creeps, because women are magical creatures deserving of our respect. You will never be overlooked for a promotion for wearing the push-up bra and 5" heels that most of the women in the office hate you for. And sex, and sexual interest, is your birthright, but men should stop thinking about it, acting on it ... etc.


I didn't go downtown for the hockey. I was just coming back from out of the country and was miles away. I watched it on tv from a suburb. Looking at the videos people posted, it was a relatively tame "riot;" even most of the "looters" were just looking for things to burn. And the majority of the people there were just standing around with their camera phones. One quick barrage of beanbags, or a firehose and a loudspeaker, would have dispersed more than 80% of that crowd. What would have been left would have been easy enough to manage. The media here are making too much of it. It was not a riot; it was common hooliganism.
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