Canadian "slut walk" draws over 2,000 proud sluts

Christian men might not like sluts, but Canadians sure do! Over the weekend, nearly 2,000 people gathered in downtown Toronto for a "Slut Walk," a march protesting a sexist comment made by a police officer at a local college back in January. The officer was advising students on how to keep themselves safe, and he had a special message just for women: if you don't dress "like a slut," you won't be victimized. Gee, thanks. 

"Slut" is a harsh word, especially when used by a man, but for women, the word provokes a range of responses. For some women, it seemed the comment bothered them solely on a political level, while others felt directly attacked because of their fashion choices and the way they expressed themselves sexually.

One wise woman commented that the march was helping women find power in the word slut, which I fully agree with. Taking the emphasis off the negative connotations of the word seems much more effective than dressing like Lady Gaga in protest (which some women also did). Of course, I believe that women should be able to wear whatever they want and feel safe on the streets. But, as long as they are taking their fashion cues from a woman who doesnt believe in pants, no one, man or woman, is safe.

Here's CBC's MoxNews' report:

Tags Feminism

Commentarium (51 Comments)

Apr 05 11 - 6:37pm
Vinegar Bend

I think I should be living in Canada

Apr 05 11 - 11:42pm
Z

Yes, the officer did use inappropriate language, but I think the point he wanted to get across was that there is only so much the law can do to protect women from getting raped.

Apr 06 11 - 1:22am
nn

Yes, and I think the point the women want to get across is that how you dress has little to do with whether you get raped, and a sexist society has everything to do with it.

Apr 06 11 - 3:53am
john

That is a load of crap, and any sensible person would know that.

Apr 06 11 - 12:40pm
Blake

I don't think rape has anything to do with a sexist society. People will treat each other like crap regardless of their sex. Rape is just a crime that is unfortunately far easier to commit against a female than a male.

Apr 06 11 - 12:01am
Thor

"The officer was advising students on how to keep themselves safe, and he had a special message just for women: if you don't dress "like a slut," you won't be victimized. Gee, thanks. "

That's not what the officer said. He advised that to reduce your risk of being victimized, don't dress like a slut. Poor choice of words, yes, but not necessarily bad advice. I can't put words in his mouth, but my interpretation of it all was that he was trying to say you're more likely to set off some psycho by dressing scantily than by dressing conservatively.

Apr 06 11 - 2:43am
Tara

Very well said. Visual beings we are.

Apr 08 11 - 9:00pm
AN

Really? Because the guy who raped me when I was thirteen was a stranger. And, fyi what I was wearing? Jeans, blue plaid fleece button shirt that didn't show even a hint of cleavage and, some winter boots. I guess I need to re-assess what "slut" means when it comes to my wardrobe. Stop blaming victims because you can't fathom bad things happening to good people.

*grumbles*

Feb 28 12 - 4:48pm
Surnov

Actually AN, that's probably just a pedophile who raped you. And clothing really does affect rape. Not saying it's the only thing that causes it, because it's a small part. But it's still part of it.

Apr 06 11 - 12:03am
Rick

I dunno, I see it the same as a cop saying "Don't walk alone in the Jane and Finch area at night." Should you be able to? Yes. Is it your fault if you get attacked because you do decide to walk by yourself? No. Is it a good precaution to try and avoid that area? Most definitely.

Apr 06 11 - 3:11pm
True

You are absolutely correct. I once listened to a district attorney giving a presentation. He said that over the many years of seeing all kinds of crimes, one thing stuck out to him. Most of the crimes he was involved with prosecuting occurred between the hours of midnight and 4am. He said that by merely staying home and watching tv or going to bed you were significantly less likely to be a victim. Of course that statement isn't personally offensive so nobody protested. But the point is that certain actions make you more likely to become a victim.

Apr 06 11 - 1:25am
nn

Listen, men of the nerve world. You're all talking out of your asses (unless you yourself are a rapist, in which case I guess you really do know what you're talking about.) No one has ever proven a correlation between how women dress and whether they are raped. It /has/ been proven that women who dress in all styles, of all ages, and all different "hotness" levels, are raped /every single week/. In order to make a significant impact on the rate of rapes, we need to be focusing on things other than how a woman dresses.

Apr 06 11 - 2:46am
Tara

So called slutty attire surely isn't the sole factor leading to a rape occuring, but if a woman dresses like a scantily-clad prostitute I see a possible strong correlation.

Apr 06 11 - 3:55am
john

NM you are so eager to prove that womens behaviour has zero to do with getting raped, that you have lost sight of what should be the real goal, ie/ finding realistic ways to decrease rape. If one of those ways is to advise women to dress more conservatively, then so be it. The end result is important, the politics is not.

Apr 06 11 - 12:32pm
nn

Well, Tara, and have you thought about the fact that what is considered "scantily clad" is highly relative? What dress is sexy is highly psychological. For instance, 100 years ago showing some ankle was considered highly titillating. If everyone starts competing to be the most conservatively dressed, where would it end? With Burkas? Once again, dress is not the issue...

Apr 06 11 - 12:42pm
Blake

Unfortunately, rape is one of those crimes that's not easily gotten rid of. I really don't think it's a result of a lack of awareness or disrespect towards women. I feel like all it boils down to is that some people are ****ed in the head, and unless you can think of a way to get psychos off the street before they commit a crime, rape is not going to be eliminated. It's like trying to stop murder before it happens.

Apr 09 11 - 2:57pm
confused

Is there a reason you ignored the reply from John, nn?

Apr 06 11 - 6:31am
Steve

Rape is about power, not sex. There may be a few rapists out there who do it because they can't get laid; but the majority don't care how someone dresses. It's the victims manner of speech or something they do that sets off the rapist. Or it's just someone that the rapist feels they can overpower.

Apr 06 11 - 12:43pm
Blake

If someones manner of speech or actions can set off a rapist, why would it be a stretch to think the way someone dresses could as well?

Apr 06 11 - 10:54am
thinkywritey

Damn all those sexy-sexy grandmas, children and homeless ladies! With the slutty rape-inducing clothing!

Apr 06 11 - 1:17pm
Guava

The key thing to remember is that a rapist is looking for a target before ever laying eyes on her. He's already looking for access and opportunity to act and get away with it. Therefore, his criteria has little if anything to do with what she's wearing, except maybe that a skirt will provide less of a barrier than a pair of jeans. His criteria are: if she's alone, an how remote the area is. In his mind, he's far more focused on getting away with it, not "finding someone sexy." Yes, there are cases where a guy convinced himself a girl "wants it" and won't take no for an answer, but those are more date and acquaintance rape cases, and those guys are basing their fucked up thinking on much more than her clothes; for example, if she talked about fucking a bunch of other guys, or he heard she did from mutual friends, he might convince himself she won't say no to the point where he ignores her telling him to stop, ie, getting carried away by his fantasy, and maybe he was drunk or high at the time too. Again, he likely had it in his head days, weeks or months in advance that she will "give him what he wants" in cases like this, after he has fantasized enough to basically hard wire his desired reality into his head. What she wears one night MAY be one of many perceived signals he takes to mean she's giving him the green light, but by that point, he's pretty much seeing what he wants to see anyway, and if she's dressed conservatively, he'll just ignore that and focus on how she flipped her hair when she walked past him or something. Rapes don't materialize out of nowhere. A rapist goes through a process that brings him to a point where the victim fits into a plan far more than it having anything to do with the actual person targeted.

Apr 14 11 - 1:43pm
girlypops

id like to also add these women are talking about all forms of rape an essentially saying its never ok to blame the victim which the officer was essentually saying. They want the system to change and also people attitudes that its never ok to blame the victim. that their never should be an excuse to use violence. That dressing provocatively is not an invitation to rape. that the highest incidents of rape that occur in India are in a conservatively dressed area. that incidents of rape occurs in countries where women are covered from head to toe. that in Africa you're more likely to be raped then to learn to read if your female. by saying dont dress like a slut and perpetrating the myth which is not factual. your blaming the victim for the rapist actions and putting the responsibility on the victim and condones the actions of the rapist taking the blame off him. slut = ok to do violence how dose that make it justified. which caused the up roar to begin with. the officer was suppose to be trained and representing the police force views that why he was speaking about it in the first place. its hard enough a women feel like she can charge a person with rape when the people you turn to help you are biased toward you. the majority of rapes go unreported because of the shame of it. That if you can malign the victims character rapist have gotten away with it. So they want to show people that their is never an excuse for rape. They say the statics are much higher and its highly doubtful bone head that theirs this new trend of wom en lying about it to ruin lives. you know how much humiliation goes along with taking it to court.

Apr 06 11 - 1:26pm
ZW

Anyone who believes that sexism has nothing to do with rape has an unrealistic view of what rape is: that it's always man hiding behind a bush at night waiting for a woman to walk by. It's very often someone the victim knows. Many men have the misconception that they're owed sex. They believe that women are asking to be assaulted if they dress 'suggestively.' It's not always a violent struggle, either.

I think that the police need to stop making excuses and do their fucking jobs. Don't want to get beat up? Easy, quit being a faggot. Don't want to be racially profiled? Easy, try to look less Arab. It's rather vacuous advice.

Apr 06 11 - 2:22pm
G

While I agree with you, I think the kind of rape being discussed here is the assault on the street type.

That being said, I still don't know what you expect the police to do. Everyone is jumping down their throats for this comment, (which shouldn't have been said, agreed) but no one has really provided any examples as to what they'd like the police to do about the problem.

Apr 06 11 - 3:58pm
ZW

They ought to change their attitude. I don't expect that an officer who calls women dressed in revealing clothing a slut, in this derisive manner, has much respect for women. I don't expect him to respond with as much serious as the situation calls for if such a woman is raped.

Apr 06 11 - 4:15pm
G

So this single officer is now a reflection of every person on the police force? Come on. You also completely dodged my question. You said the police should stop making excuses and do their job. What part of their job are they not doing?

Apr 06 11 - 5:10pm
ZW

What I'm saying is this (I'm going to use another analogy): If I go to the drycleaner, I don't want him to tell me not to spill wine on my blazer, I expect him to clean it!

I'm not saying that every police officer is a sexist, but it's such a cop-out to argue with that "don't generalize" nonsense. Bigotry among police is a problem. It's not this one officer; recently, a sheriff in Illinois made a remark something like "fag jew." There's a long list. I don't intend to make a universal generalization, but generalizations can be true! I'm a fraternity member and I readily admit that there's a problem with the way many fraternity members view women.

I'm not dodging your question. Here's what they can do: change their attitude. They can stop calling women sluts. If you were raped and felt vulnerable and humiliated, I don't expect that it would be easy to approach police when they make remarks such as this. Rape allegations are taken less seriously the longer someone waits to report it; after the victim has had time to process what has happened to them, for instance.

Apr 06 11 - 7:04pm
G

So again, we have thousands of cops across Canada and the States, and we have some nasty comments from a few of them. This is unavoidable, and it shouldn't colour your idea of cops in general, despite the fact that it clearly has.

You're dodging my question entirely. You've yet to say how the police aren't doing their jobs. I would agree with you that a comment like this could make it more difficult to approach the police after a rape because of a comment like this, but again, that's because of our natural tendency to unfairly generalize. Unfortunately, your other statement is also true. I feel that this is in part, however, because of a terrifying new trend of people, usually men, being accused of rape when someone has become angry at them. Regardless of whether or not they're convicted, an accusation like this can ruin the life of someone. Not to say this excuses not believing someone reporting a rape, but it's not as though this reluctance to believe comes from nowhere.

What I'm trying to say is that while there are most definitely some police officers (and a ton of other people in unrelated careers) who could use an attitude adjustment, this isn't an issue with the police. This is an issue with people, and not with how well cops are doing (or not doing, as you claim) their jobs.

Apr 06 11 - 8:51pm
LAP

That dry cleaning analogy is absolutely terrible, and it's a false equivalency to boot. Since when are cops the main deterrent to crime? I think it's the laws that they are charged with maintaining and the associated penalties that are meant to deter people. If a cop isn't there, then there isn't much he's gonna be able to do about it. But, if he teaches YOU how to avoid crimes (and, yes, the advice in this instant was moronic), then he is giving you tools to remain safe and doing his job. But to expect police to magically arrive mid-crime is just ridiculous.

Apr 07 11 - 2:49am
ZW

You’re correct, generalizations aren’t always true. Gold star for nice shit you learn in kindergarten. The thing is, I expect that for every one who fucks up and says it, there are thousands of others who think it. Similarly, I expect that for each act of police brutality caught on tape, there are a hundred only witnessed by the pig and the brutalized civilian.

Sorry, bad analogy. However, I still think that I’m right. The point is, don’t tell the victim of such a scarring crime that it’s even partially their fault.

Who’s saying that police are supposed to be able to intervene during the crime? I know that penalties deter rapists. I also know that bigoted police deter victims from reporting crimes. Does this not qualify as not doing your job? Can special education teachers start calling the kids retards?

Another bad analogy. Sorry. Jesus Christ. This is the first and last time I get in an internet argument/debate.

If you look on Google Scholar, there are some good articles on rape reporting, etc.

Also, I know that there are lots of police who do super things gr8 gr8 gr8

Apr 07 11 - 9:24am
K

"This is the first and last time I get in an internet argument/debate."

Well, thank god for that.

Apr 09 11 - 3:03pm
confused

Ahhh... the first allusion--albeit, most likely, unbeknownst--to the heart of the issue: ZW, "However, I still think I'm right." That summation speaks volumes.

Apr 07 11 - 11:59am
G

Wow, someone's getting a little pissy. Calm down, it's a discussion. Yeah, for every one person that says it, there are thousands who think it. That's what you get on a planet of almost seven billion people. Gold stars all around! When did police brutality come into the equation? I must've missed something.

I also missed the part where the police officer was telling a rape victim it was her fault for dressing provocatively. I thought he was giving a talk at a university about how to stay safe at night. I'm starting to get the impression you read a different article than I did.

Aha! We finally get an answer to my question. Yes, there most definitely are bigot police officers. There are also people who, as I said, will pose as rape victims to get revenge on people. I think the issue more lies with those scumbags, but that's just me. Congrats on another completely awful analogy, though.

I will check out Google Scholar, though. It's a subject I'd like to learn more about. Fricken' love that site. Incredibly helpful for lab reports.

Apr 07 11 - 11:59am
G

Whoops, didn't click reply. Oh well.

Apr 07 11 - 2:37pm
cuckholddon

Yea--Lock up folks with that attitude!
Mabe a man should allways dress like a homeless person or they "DESERVE" to get robbed!

Apr 07 11 - 3:53pm
G

So here we yet again have someone completely misunderstanding what the police officer was saying. He did NOT say anyone dressing provocatively "deserved" to be raped. He said that dressing like a "slut" could provoke a rapist. These are not at all the same thing. It was said as a precaution, akin to "Don't want home by yourself at night." That doesn't mean that someone who gets raped walking home by themselves deserved it. Good lord.

P.S. Who the hell robs a homeless person? What could they possibly have worth stealing?

Apr 07 11 - 2:41pm
cuckholddon

Mabe men should allways dress like they are homeless or they "DESERVE" to get Robbed!
Same (flawed) Logic

Apr 08 11 - 11:36am
Joe

Wrong. Nobody said that anyone "deserved" anything and nobody said women should always dress a certain way. If you want to make an analogy you could say that men who wear expensive jewelry and expensive clothes are more likely to get robbed. Or: if you don't dress "like a rich fancy playboy" you won't be victimized. That's the same (flawed) logic.

Apr 09 11 - 3:20am
sdc

growing up where I did and when I did,I learned that we live in a world where you can do everything "the way you are supposed to" and bad things can still happen to you. why? because there are people in this world who are (for what ever reason) just 'bad'. (and yes i know that I'm simplifying this a great deal)
I think that the points ZW is trying to get across are that:
1 - regardless of who, where, or when you are, what kind of person you are or (in this case) how you may be dressed, that bad things can happen to you if one of these a fore mentioned 'bad' people choose to "be bad".
2 - and that because of this, the blame (if someone wishes to cast some) for that "bad person's' actions should be cast solely on that 'bad person' and not in anyway be cast on the victim.
3 - saying otherwise may not perhaps promote the actions of the 'bad' person, but it creates a subconscious air that it is somewhat excusable or could be acceptably tolerated.
the point as I see it is that victimization is wrong and doing anything but fighting it head on is cowardice and betrayal.
it was NEVER ok for any nazi to kill any jew. it was NEVER ok for any klansman to kill any black person or civil rights activist. yet images such as this exist [http://www.augustmayfield.com/uploaded_images/Lynch-Mob-717013.jpg ]
see the pride in the eyes of these lynchers? this is the mindset that must be stopped. these lynchers were in the wrong. no matter how their victims were dressed or acting or anything, they were the victims.
victims of home invasions aren't even outside and they get victimized. if a "bad" person wishes to be bad then they will and their victim is never to blame. saying so in any capacity is insensitive and should not be tolerated.
if the police officer wanted females to be safe then he should have said, "ladies, do try to be safe." or , "try not to travel alone." or perhaps even pass out some pepper spray or things of that nature.
now having said this about there being people who are simply 'bad' in the world, i know that there are places that it is less safe to be. but i could just as well get gunned down at a church. is that an unsafe place to be? not at all. bad things happen to good and to bad people because there are bad people in this world. not because of how anybody is dressed.
this police officers line of thinking would only be tolerable if history has with out shadow of doubt proven that no nuns or women wearing burqas had ever been attacked.
alas it can not.

Apr 09 11 - 6:43am
G

I'm sorry you spent all that time typing out a large comment, when you've completely missed the point. The police officer wasn't promising some fool proof tactic to avoid rape. Minimizing your risk of something doesn't mean it still can't happen. Again, what the officer said was wrong, but if everyone sat down for a moment and actually thought about the meaning behind what was said, you can see that it wasn't meant to be offensive in the way many people seem to think it is. You are never completely safe anywhere, but thinking that that means you may as well disregard your safety because of this is ridiculous.

The blame was never shifted away from the rapist. The sooner everyones realizes this, the better.

May 23 11 - 7:54am
5

you say women wearing burkas get raped more, this is because by muslim law the raped woman needs a male muslim as a witness to the rape.

Apr 09 11 - 3:30pm
sdc

the point IS that the word/term/concept of "slut" is a very blame-filled word. since factually women get raped far more than men, he could have just as accurately advised the attendees to reduce their chances of getting raped by not dressing like a nun or a nurse or a school teacher or a mother or any other female.
he was wrong and cast blame away from the rapist when he used the condemning descriptive word "slut".
how about this for advice: "ladies, to lessen your chances of getting raped, never travel alone in sketchy places and try not to travel at night without some sort of protection."

Apr 10 11 - 9:41pm
G

Only 1 of those three professions are limited to females, and again, only one of those has an attire that is immediately recognizable as "female". The point he was making, whether true or not, was that dressing provocatively could be dangerous. You're again missing the point.

I still don't see how this shifts blame away from the rapist. If I was to say "Some jackass got robbed" that doesn't mean the robber is any less guilty, even if the guy who was robbed was a jerk. Yes, it is a offensive term. However, there was no blame being placed on the hypothetical person putting themselves in danger by "dressing like a slut".

You seem to think that the only thing he was was "Don't dress like a slut." and then walked off stage. The officer gave a whole talk about staying safe, and I have a gut feeling those were probably mentioned.

Apr 15 11 - 1:12am
sdc

thank you for your words girlypops.
u got the message i was putting out there.

Apr 15 11 - 3:25pm
G

Yet again, you've all completely missed the point. Reducing your risks of something bad happening does still not prevent it from happening, nor does it shift the blame. Walking around at night in a sketchy area is probably a bad idea, and it would be good advice not to do so. That said, if you get mugged while walking around in a bad area, that doesn't make it your fault.

I don't understand why this is so hard to comprehend.

May 23 11 - 7:58am
5

G i understand your point, its the same as leaving your car window open and your phone on the seat. to reduce the risk the advice is "dont leave your window open"
yeah the slut bit was wrong but opportunist rapists would see an "easy target" if a woman was wearing a short skirt walking at night on her own.

Apr 11 11 - 2:43pm
Fei

Wait, so am I supposed to call women sluts now, since this march was to help women find power in the word "slut"?

Apr 11 11 - 2:54pm
G-ray

I for one will be using the word more liberally from now on. All you sluts out there, get ready, because i'm gonna call you a slut.

Apr 21 11 - 1:00pm
Steve

If I want to walk through the "bad" part of town at 2am with lots of jewelry on, waving a wad of cash, I should have the right not to be mugged...but that wouldn't really be smart, would it?

Jun 10 11 - 3:26pm
Kairii

The forum is a brighter place tahnks to your posts. Thanks!

Jun 28 11 - 1:44pm
Iman Azol

Apparently, SlUTS don't know how to write an uppercase L?