15/05/2011

Slutwalk? I'm supportive, but let's not forget to focus on perpetrators of crime against women

So back in April, post the insensitive comments from a Policeman earlier in the year where he told a group of female students that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized",  Sonya Barnett organised a 'slutwalk'. The purpose being to reclaim the word 'slut' and to challenge the pervasive opinion that somehow when a women is attacked, it's partly her fault. The original walk has spawned many similar demos across the US and Canada and even a website dedicated to the cause.  Whilst I am of the opinion that a women should be able to wear what she likes, when she likes and am thus supportive of the cause, I worry that it may be detracting from the key issue i.e focusing on teaching men that it's not OK to rape. Women who wear burqas, old women, small children and women not in any way dressed provocatively are also, routinely raped. Rape is often used as a method of terrorism and control (the DR Congo being an horrific modern day example of this), I'll wager that what the women are wearing doesn't really factor into the decision to rape them.  I also worry that it may be reinforcing negative stereotypes that we (and more worryingly, our children) are subjected to on an alarmingly frequent basis.  An interesting article  in the Daily Beast details why a number of women think slutwalks might not be a great idea).  I was thus heartened to come across a piece written by a man that makes that very point. He starts as follows:
A lot has been said about how to prevent rape. Women should learn self-defense. Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Women shouldn't have long hair and women shouldn't wear short skirts. Women shouldn't leave drinks unattended. Fuck, they shouldn't dare to get drunk at all.


Instead of that bullshit, how about:


If a woman is drunk, don't rape her. If a woman is walking alone at night, don't rape her.
Read the rest  at http://tuxmann.blogspot.com/2006/02/dont-rape-her.html and forward it to all the men you know.  Meanwhile, if you are taking part in a slutwalk, go girl!

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