SlutWalk is an international movement that has its grassroots in Toronto, Canada. The name may seem shocking at face value- after all no woman enjoys being called a slut, but it isn’t the name that shocked women into following them, it was anger and support.
Women are getting angry. Or, I should say, spitting-mad and deciding to take action. SlutWalk has inspired hundreds of walks and satellite walks all over the world to protest those who place blame on the victims of sexual assault. The first major protest took place after a male Toronto Police Officer told a group of college students at a campus safety meeting, “I shouldn’t say this, but women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized .” Over 3,000 people came out to support SlutWalk against the stereotyping of the Toronto Police.
Women have been stewing for years about the victim blaming that seems to go hand in hand with sexual assault. If you think victim blaming isn’t happening then you haven’t been paying attention to the news for the past few years.
In 2007, a U.S. Judge who was trying a rape case called the victim of the crime “stupid” and “na¯ve” before he put her rapist in jail for 3 ½ years because the victim was a “stupid” woman that he took advantage of. The exact quote from Justice John Rooke was, “It’s the stupid people who need protection. You can’t come across a person who’s vulnerable and lead them, literally, off into the woods and sexually assault them. This offender was a predator. Like a vulture who pounces on a mouse, this predator pounced on a young girl, a young woman.”
Berea College in Kentucky is facing some really pissed off women and a lot of scrutiny after saying that a student, who was sexually assaulted by her sociology professor, brought it on herself. The college’s response to the students lawsuit was, ” — the plaintiff’s provocation and conduct was the substantial factor in causing and bringing about the injuries and damages of which she complains.”
If the cases mentioned were not enough to get women angered into action, the case of Lara Logan’s sexual attack in Egypt sure did. Logan, a journalist who covers tough topics like war, was not only the victim of sexual assault, but also of victim blaming. Debbie Schlussel, a conservative political commentator, wrote, ” So sad, too bad, Lara. No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about. Now she knows. Or so we’d hope. But in the case of the media vis-a-vis Islam, that’s a hope that’s generally unanswered — .Now that’s all gone. How fitting that Lara Logan was “liberated” by Muslims in Liberation Square while she was gushing over the other part of the “liberation”. Hope you’re enjoying the revolution, Lara! Alhamdilllullah [praise allah].”
Schlussel claims she was not victim blaming or supporting sexual violence. Apparently, she thinks her readers don’t know how to read her words. I’ve read them a couple of times and each time I do I get more angered because her entire rant was blaming Logan for being there in the first place.
But Schlussel wasn’t the only one blaming Logan for being there. Jim Hoft, writer at the Gateway Pundit, questioned Logan’s motives, “Why did this attractive blonde female reporter wander into Tahrir Square last Friday? Why would she think this was a good idea? Did she not see the violence in the square the last three weeks?”
Apparently, both Schlussel and Hoft had forgotten that Logan was a reporter doing her job. In both cases the blame was aimed at the victim. Hoft blames her for doing her job as an “attractive blonde” and Schlussel blames her for going into a war zone and for having liberal views towards Islam and Muslims.
With the media, judges, police officers and colleges placing blame on the victims of sexual assault, it isn’t shocking that an organization dedicated to eradicating the concept would appeal to many women on an international level. SlutWalk isn’t about the word “slut” or about dressing like a slut to gain attention. It isn’t just a feminist movement. It’s not about the labels. It is about putting an end to sexual violence and putting an end to blaming the victims of such crimes. It’s about putting blame where it belongs, with the attacker.