The idea behind the Slutwalks is simple, yet so often fails to get through: rape is rape, no matter what the victim wears, says or does.
By Sarah Seltzer
May 11, 2011
One Toronto policeman, Michael Sanguinetti, made the mistake of telling women on a college campus “not to dress like sluts” if they didn’t want to get raped.
It was a stupid and wrong thing to say, obviously. But if it had really been one guy’s mistake, hundreds of women wouldn’t be participating in “Slutwalks” that have spread across the continent, and now the globe, and are garnering quite a bit of attention from the media.
According to the Guardian, Slutwalks have already taken place in Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Argentina and Sweden and major events are planned in London, LA, and more this summer. It’s a phenomenon that has gone viral, sporting creative homemade signs, costumes and chants that channel the clever and theatrical elements of feminist protest.
The point of these mass marches? Comments like that misguided police officer’s are all too common, reflecting beliefs ingrained in nearly all of us as part of a culture that jumps to blaming the victim, blaming alcohol, blaming loose morals, blaming anyone and anything but the actual rapist. And such a culture isn’t just demeaning, it’s dangerous, because it focuses on the outfits and behavior of victims rather than the criminal behavior of perpetrators.
The idea behind the Slutwalks is simple, yet so often fails to get through: rape is rape, no matter what the victim is wearing. The Slutwalks–after the original one in Toronto was successful and showed up on YouTube and on Internet pictures–have sprung up organically. They tend not to have a vastly unifying principle beyond this: if the law, and society, treat women who are raped as sluts who deserved it, than we are all sluts, because we can all be raped at any time, no matter what we are wearing.
To simplify it even further, a Boston marcher carried a sign reading, “Sluts Don’t Cause Rape. Rapists Do.”