Sex in the News: The First Ever Slutwalk

Last weekend in Toronto, where I live, a reported 1,000 people marched together in the first-ever SlutWalk. The campaign was a response to a comment made at a local university by a police officer, who said women should avoid “dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” The police have since apologized for the officer’s comment, but it still hit hard with the organizers of SlutWalk.

The idea of SlutWalk spread to two other Canadian cities over this past weekend. I unfortunately worked during the walk in Toronto, but many of my friends were out walking. While they said the walk was mainly positive, there were some groups of men holding signs reading things as “slut after-party.” Because unfortunately the idea that women who dress in a certain way bring negative attention onto themselves and are setting themselves up to be a target is still considered a valid idea by some people.

Why are we still blaming the victim? While women are taught to do all things possible to avoid being raped, our culture is still lacking a don’t rape message. While the White Ribbon campaign and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes are a step in the right direction, it’s clearly not enough. Just look at the frat boys from Yale who were made to chant ‘no means yes.’

Or how about when an 11-year-old gang-rape victim is blamed for dressing older than her age by a politician. If a victim, who is truly only a child, is being shamed, why on earth would anyone want to report a sexual assault. Though this might not be the entire reason, the U.S. Justice Department released a study in 2005 showing that 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported.

Preventing sexual assault needs to move past the victim. When you hear that Take Back the Night has been happening for thirty-three years, you realize that many issues revolving around sexual assault are seen as responsibilities of the victim. Women should avoid walking alone at night, women should be careful about their drinks at the bar, and women should watch how they dress. When according to RAINN, 38 percent of rape victims know their attacker, is this really enough?

How do we change the attitudes around sexual assault? When will we stop blaming the victim and start blaming the rapist?



    1. Siuj says:

      I definitely agree that the victim should never be blamed for rape. HOWEVER, that being said, I think it is ridiculous that events like these try and give every girl a free pass for anything she does. As women, we are responsible for our bodies and the safety of ourselves. While i agree that dressing a certain way is never a good reason to blame a victim, things such as drugs, binge drinking, and putting yourself in dangerous situations should be partially put on the victim. As someone who lost her virginity blacked out, I admit that I was irresponsible. I didnt consent, but the situtation i put myself made it pretty difficult for me to give consent to begin with.

      My point is that campaigns like this are great, but we should take responsibility for our actions and how they may positivity or negatively affect us.

      1. M.F. says:

        I have to say I disagree, drinking, drugs, etc… doesn't equal any blame on the victim to be raped. No consent equals that, someone too advantage of the situation. Regarding your actions, you drank too much it happens. Does not give someone the right to take advantage of the situation. That person is at fault not you.

      2. Erin says:

        I don't think she was saying she thought it was her fault because she got drink.

        There should be more awareness put out there on girls behaving safely to avoid these kinds of situations. It's not your fault if you get drunk and blackout, it doesn't make rape excusable AT ALL. I don't think it puts ANY blame on the woman. But nonetheless, we should be showing this to teach women to protect themselves.

      3. M.F. says:

        A lot of women don't fight or flee, some just freeze, I do not think any of us intentionally put ourselves in a dangerous situation and she clearly states she was irresponsible. How? She's not allowed to enjoy herself or occasionally over drink? When does it become excusable that someone actually took advantage of her when she was in that situation? Why is it always just on the woman to make sure they're safe? I'm not saying they shouldn't make sure they're safe, the common story I know about is that someone is hurt by someone they know. They think they're safe and someone took advantage of a situation. Education is key to preventing these issues and many need to be taught that it is not okay to take advantage of someone regardless of gender.

        It's not funny, it's not a joke and I have no idea why women feel the need to blame themselves or other women for what happened. The point is to show otherwise, both men and women need to be educated in the topic. It's about control, not attraction. This is about bringing awareness of the situation, that it can happen to anyone regardless of what you are wearing.

    2. Sarah L Goertzen says:

      Great issue to bring attention to. I completely agree that rape is never the victim's fault, regardless of clothing. You never know why a person dresses they way he or she does, but you can bet that even if that person wanted some extra attention, it was NOT to get raped. Rape is never okay, regardless of the state the victim is in.
      This past weekend there was another SlutWalk, in Ottawa where I live, and I heard there are plans for more, particularly in the US. It's great that the idea is spreading!

    3. Anna says:

      While I do think we need to take action against the rapers not the victims and that the blame should not be placed on the victim, the mentality that the way girls dress have no impact or effect on guys is ignorant. A guy will look at a girl wearing a low cut shirt or a skimpy dress over someone more conservatively dressed – and then girls complain about how guys are pigs and only care about boobs and butts. While rape is never the victim's fault, girls would be wise to stop dressing in such skimpy clothes if they want to be treated with respect rather than as a slut. If you dress like one, don't complain about being treated like one.

      1. M.F. says:

        I think the point is that it does not matter how one dresses, anyone can be raped. A woman could wear blue jeans and still be raped. It's having an attitude like this that doesn't help the cause. Men are going to look at us regardless of what we wear and other women will make that same judgment. At no point does that allow for someone to treat me like a slut, whore, or any other demeaning action, if by chance I decide to wear a shorter than usual skirt or a lower than usual V-neck. I am allowed to dress sexy should I do so and I'm allowed to be respected because I respect myself.

      2. Claire says:

        If men automatically treat women with disrespect, call them sluts, rape them because they wear clothes that they want to wear then that indicates a very very serious problem with our society. Men are not animals; they are not born into treating women like objects. Men are socialized to call women sluts and believe they need to have as many sexual partners are possible in order to assert their masculinity. Men do not naturally treat women this way and to believe so in my mind is to blame the victim for putting herself in a harmful situation and to deny the fact that many people are raped by someone they know. Boyfriends rape their girlfriends and no one can say it was because of something they were wearing. Women should be able to wear anything they want to wear without the threat of violence. This is so similar to the argument that if a woman is wearing tight jeans and she helps take them off that she is consenting to sex and then therefore she was not raped. We all have the right to say no at anytime even during sex and we all should have the right to feel comfortable wearing whatever we want. Also, if anyone wants to address the issue of women wearing skimpy clothing then we need to acknowledge that our culture encourages women to wear revealing clothing and tells them that in order to be attractive they need to show off their bodies but then our culture turns around calls women sluts and tells them it's their fault for being raped. I have large breasts and in high school a guy would walk around grabbing women's breasts as he passed by. He did this to me regardless of the fact that I was entirely covered. Men do not hurt women because women disrespect themselves, they hurt women because they already have been taught to disrespect women.

      3. RetroRiotGrrrl says:

        It's women like you, brainwashed by an anti-woman society that depress me the most. You don't even understand how much you're opressing yourself

    4. exzo says:

      Rape is an act of violence as most rapists have access to a sexual partner. Gratification comes from the gaining of power and control and then discharging anger. This gratification is only temporary, so the rapist seeks another victim. Most rapes are planned out. That women entice their rapist is a myth. Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding rape. Some are listed here:

    5. RIKO says:

      You know what i hate a lot? People that say, "Rape is awful, BUT" or "I know it's not the victim's fault BUT" There's no freaking but when it comes to rape, the victim should never be blamed. Dressing a certain way doesn't condone ANY VIOLENCE FROM ANYONE PERIOD. These are the most dangerous statements because it slowly takes agency away from the victims with victim blaming and slut-shaming. arggghh!

    6. […] Sex in the News: The First Ever Slutwalk – College Candy […]

    7. Paige says:

      These attitudes are so difficult to eliminate because they are the cause and the product of girls dressing “scandalously.” There is no reason to dress as a sexual object unless somebody, somewhere has made you think that that is what you are. And it’s not just somebody, somewhere – it’s everywhere. Even if you turn off Jersey Shore and turn on the news, the female news anchors are blond beauties in cleavage-revealing dresses while the men are anyone from Anderson Cooper to Glen Beck wearing suits. Women are so often treated as something to look at, that it’s infuriating that guys can somehow point to a girl’s appearance as something that she did to him, and not vice-versa. Today, I overheard a guy ranting about a girl he saw on campus wearing cargo shorts, and how unacceptable it was to him. As a woman, I am so often made to feel as though how sexy I am determines my worth, that even as a driven student with self-confidence, I feel pressured to look a certain way when I go out.
      If we could all just trade places for a week, maybe I would understand the male perspective better – and maybe they would begin to understand how far gender equality has yet to come.

    8. […] 1000 people marched together in the “Slutwalk” to protest people saying awful, misinformed shit about sexual assault. -College Candy […]

    9. […] is in response to the notion that women should avoid dressing slutty so they won’t be raped. (College Candy) Rot13.write("Lbh pna ernpu guvf cbfg'f nhgube, Unaanu Ebfr Fvrtry, ivn r-znvy ng […]

    10. weakshine says:

      Like exzo said, rape is not, and never has been, about sex. it is about control, power and violence. It's worrisome to see that people in this day and age still think that rape is somehow sex.

      statements like this: "If you dress like [a slut], don't complain about being treated like one" are the kind of things that fog up the issue and promote misinformation. Conservative girls get raped. Boys/men rape their girlfriends/wives who at other times have been more than willing partners. Men with access to perfectly healthy and willing sexual partners commit rape. why? because it's not the sex. it is the control. Not only that, but how exactly is a rape victim a slut, as this statement suggests; "don't complain about being treated like one" in this conversation, to me, sounds like you're suggesting that being raped is what being treated like/acting like a slut is. And once again it's important that people get informed and understand that sexual activity and rape are in COMPLETELY different ballparks.

      to me, "slut" refers to someone who is highly promiscuous. How does that invite rape? I may disapprove of – or simply not share your taste in – wardrobe. that doesn't give someone the right to seriously violate and harm you physically

    11. Johnny says:

      Good intentions, but bad way to express those intentions. Is it the victims fault? No, they wouldn't be the victim then would they ,but this isn't rocket science. Predators pick the easiest target they think they can take down, same concept here. Dresses slutty? Easy target. Walking alone? Easy target. You can't prevent an insane person from doing insane things, but you can make it harder and stop them from succeeding.

    12. willieblackmon says:

      They also tend to enfisize religion as if they are keeping score with the amount of good or bad that each race,religion, or sex is doing.!/QuickDetox

    13. Linds says:

      whenever this topic comes up, it reminds me of Dave Chapelle:

      at the end, both sides need to be responsible for the risk/action they have chosen to take

    14. criolle johnny says:

      Love the sign. If she walks to work in February, in Canada, is she going to blame the weather for her frostbite?

    15. […] est en train d’enflammer l’Amérique du Nord, depuis Boston et Toronto : les “slutwalks” ou en mauvais français “la marche des salopes“. Tout a démarré le 24 janvier […]

    16. […] women back a few steps as we allow others to openly objectify us without shame? Or, like an annual SlutWalk across campuses nationwide, are we refusing to set ourselves up as a target for sexual violence and […]

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