This weekend I will participate in my local SlutWalk. If you haven't been keeping up on exactly what SlutWalk is, it started in Toronto as a very grassroots/activist way to combat institutionalized slut shaming. From the Toronto SlutWalk website: "On January 24th, 2011, a representative of the Toronto Police gave shocking insight into the Force’s view of sexual assault by stating: women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."
This case of classic victim blaming spoke to the world of feminists and dozens of sister SlutWalks popped up around the world out of solidarity and in an effort to end victim blaming once and for all.
In case you're not up on victim blaming, I've written a bit about it before. The simple definition is any time someone identifies any attribute of the victim as a possible source/provoker of her rape/assault. Common examples include:
"She drank too much, she was out of control."
"She sleeps with everyone anyway."
"Well did you see how she was dressed? She was asking for it."
OR that idea's much more mild cousin "Well did you see how she was dressed? When you go out like that you know people will look."
OR perhaps the most well accepted of all, "sexual assault prevention programs" that essentially put the responsibility not to get raped back on women and the things they do in their daily lives.
Just in case all of this isn't gelling with you yet, let me put it like this.
The following things DO NOT get you raped:
where you choose to walk and when
whether or not you've chosen to have sex in the past, how many times, and with who
how much you drink
whether or not you pay attention to your surroundings
anything else you do or say
The following things DO get you raped: A rapist. That's it.
Anyway, back to SlutWalks. If you would like a really good read and interview on the topic, check out the links in which Jessica Valenti speaks about SlutWalks' place in contemporary feminism and the controversial use of the term slut within the moment's name.
Honestly, I'm really excited to participate this weekend. Ever since I had my eyes opened up to the wide scale prevalence and acceptance of victim blaming, I've been horrified. And I've paid closer attention, leaving me further horrified to see how very common it actually is.
While SlutWalkers often don "sexy" clothing to drive home the point that women should be free to wear/do what they want and that clothes/actions don't get your raped, I will be wearing my normal clothes. I will be making this choice 1) because I'm me and "sexy" clothing ain't my thing. and 2) I will be representing the other half of the coin as the women in slutty clothes, namely the fact that it doesn't matter what you dress like, look like, your age, color, ability, or "attractiveness." We're all, sadly, potential victims of sexual and gender based violence in this world.
I'm sure I'll be writing about my experience sometime soon, and hopefully with pictures.