The very first SlutWalk happened in April of this year in Toronto, but it has since taken local, national and even international media by storm. SlutWalks are popping up all over major cities in Canada, USA and across Europe in response to victim-blaming.
SlutWalk Toronto is a rally that began in response to the victim-blaming that occurs throughout society in response to rape and sexual abuse. The tipping point was when Constable Michael Sanguinetti of the Toronto Police Service advised women at York University to “not dress like sluts” to avoid getting sexually assaulted. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. In Manitoba, Judge Robert Dewar sentenced a rapist only to house arrest attributing it to the way the victim was dressed and behaved.
If this victim-blaming occurs in Canada, where we have a strange reputation for ‘politeness’, I dread to think what is happening in other countries around the world. Many women have it worse than us living in First World countries, but I strongly believe that action starts at home. Blaming victims of a sex crime—in any country—just doesn’t sit right with me.
A fantastic article was circulated last week (I saw it on Facebook and Twitter) about what would happen if we blamed the victims of other crimes. Do we blame people who are robbed for having expensive items in their home? Do we blame people who are the victims of credit card fraud or identity theft? No! Because that would be ridiculous.
So, this Sunday, May 15, 2011, I will be participating in SlutWalk Vancouver because “whatever I wear, it is never an invitation for sexual objectification, sexual harassment or sexual abuse. Never.”1