Slut Walk

Sunday in Toronto there was a Slut Walk held as a protest against comments made by the police about how women could avoid rape if they didn’t dress like sluts. Now I’m going to take a point of view here that is likely to ruffle some feathers because I think the guy – despite his poor choice of words – has a bit of a point.

It is all well and good to want to be able to wear whatever you want, wherever you want and more power to you. However, realistically it’s not always the best choice. Think of it this way – if it’s -30 degrees out and snowing, do you know think a winter coat might be a good starting point? You need to dress appropriately for a) weather; b) what you are doing and c) where you are going. If you know you’re going to end up having to walk through a bad part of town on your own, maybe don’t wear heels because then if someone does come at you, you can run. Maybe wear a skirt that’s a bit longer so as to attract less attention. Maybe don’t wear fishnet stockings, as they have the instant connotation of “sex” for a lot of people.

It’s unfortunate, but you do have to be aware of the world around you and unfortunately there are bad people in it who will do dumb things. Be cautious and protect yourself – don’t endanger yourself by doing something rash.

Now – if you’re going to be out with a number of people and you’re coming and going in a group that’s going to be safer simply because you have a group with you. A group of 2-3 is even going to be that much more intimidating to a lone predator out hunting. Even if he has an accomplice, they’re still likely to attack girls walking by themselves. All bets are off if they have a gun, but you get the idea.

Full disclosure, I’m not really the type to really “sex it up” when I go out to the bars anyway. I have some sexier clothes, but I also dress based on how I’m choosing to travel. When I lived in a very large city, I almost always wore flats when I went out because I knew I was going to spending a lot of time on public transit to get home. (There was no way in hell I was paying $80 for a cab home.) I also made sure I did the request stop service the bus offers after dark to women so I could be dropped off between actual stops and thus closer to my apartment. I would also have my key out on the bus so that I didn’t have to stand at the front door fumbling in my purse for it. These are things I did to protect myself. My rule for sexy clothes is also show boobs or legs/butt off, not both. The bonus is less creepy guys usually gravitate towards me in a bar because usually my friends are dressed a bit more…intriguingly we’ll say.

My point is with all this – yeah the cop’s comments were dumb, but girls wake up. The world is not always a friendly place and dressing a certain way because it’s your “right”  is all well and good, but don’t be surprised if you attract unwanted attention in the form of catcalls, stares, etc. No one deserves to be raped – but you have to be proactive and protect yourself sometimes. Ultimately, you need to be aware of the big bad wolf.

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About Miss Substitute Teacher

Working as a substitute teacher. Kids really do say the darnedest things!
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11 Responses to Slut Walk

  1. You have some good points, here.
    I had a driver’s training course taught by a police officer and he gave an opinion about people who take their “right of way” out of principal, even when it isn’t safe. He said the crosswalk means drivers need to stop for pedestrians, but if you walk into the crosswalk without looking at traffic and a car is going too fast to stop or a driver isn’t paying attention, you will be in the right, but you may be “dead right”. We are safer when we use common sense.

    • I think that’s a brilliant way of putting it. I’ve found pedestrians and cyclists in my city seem to really abuse the idea of being in the right of way. I live by a university and the amount of jaywalkers and people who will literally just step out into traffic assuming the world stops for them is astronomical.

      I think the other major concern for me is the idea of calling it a “slut walk” because slut will never be a positive term either. The idea of trying to take back control of the world and pretending it’s positive is incredibly stupid in my opinion. It’s a misogynist term and will never be used as a compliment by the vast majority of society (I hope anyway).

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  3. I don’t like the idea of calling it a “slut walk” either, but I think I get the point. If I’d been in the meeting where the name was being thought up, I would have acknowleged the point that “sluts” don’t “deserve” to be raped any more than anyone else does, but that we should use a less offensive and more inclusive word, or words, to convey it. I’m also a practical person, in terms of shoes and such, because I ride public transportation a lot, too. And I worry about my daughter.

    But the fact isn’t so much that one’s mode of dress makes a normal man tend toward rape, as it is that men with rape on their minds keep a eye out for whoever it is that they personally target. A lot of modest women in sensible shoes have been violated, and I think if the authorities paid more attention to the sickness and aggression involved in this crime, than in modes of dress, it would do more to help. Just my two cents…

    • True – but those who are likely to rape aren’t always “normal” men either. The unfortunate fact of today’s world is the way clubs and such work. People go to clubs with the intention of hooking up. A girl who is dressed a certain way is going to get a lot of attention from guys who only want one thing – sex. All girls have that potential too because of the setting you are in – but certain behaviour conveys a different message. That’s when you end up with roofies and the like – which is why I’m saying always make sure you go in a group and look after each other.

      A friend of mine is pretty sure she go roofied when a whole ton of us were out last year and we all remember the random guy who kept hitting on her/following her around. She wasn’t dressed “slutty” or anything either. We took her home though and the poor girl was up emptying her stomach most of the night and could barely function the next morning.

      If you add in the fact that most women know their rapists and it happens when alcohol is involved, that’s when more of the he said/she said stuff happens and the aspect of how the individuals were dressed gets brought up. This is why I’m saying you’ve got to be smart about it and you should dress based on the circumstances, because how you’re dressed will give some kind of an impression to those around you. It’s not right, but it happens and you need to be prepared so you can react should the situation arise. It’s the same reason why I usually don’t get absolutely shit faced in public and at big massive parties.

  4. I never meant to imply that normal men rape. I don’t think a normal decent man would. That’s why I wrote that word in quotes in my first comment.

    I do agree with much of what you’ve said here about being careful when going out to public places and clubs and such. I only disagree about the notion of women having to dress in a less sexy way in order to ward off attack. That prevalent notion can make it unfairly harder to prosecute perpetrators. That in turn can make it harder to get women to file charges. And if women don’t file charges against their perpetrators, that leaves the creeps free to come after my daughter, you, and me. Because of all that I, and many others, just want the conversation about clothes to be more a part of the conversation about defensive actions, and less a part of the conversation that affects prosecution and trials. In terms of prosecution, and how a victim is treated, dress is irrevelant.

    • Oh I agree – when it comes to actually prosecuting the rapists, the clothing the woman was wearing shouldn’t enter into it. Unfortunately I think until a legal precedent is set saying that the defense can’t use that in their proceedings, it will continue to be used.

      I think though that the idea of considering the conversation of clothing to be needed in regards to defensive actions, not as part of the conversation after the fact is a good way to put it indeed. My fear is that that won’t be discussed.

  5. candystar says:

    those are all great ideas & i agree with WHAT the cop said…maybe not HOW but still. its true. girls/women these days cant seem to tell the dif between slut & sexy!

    another thing to do besides what you mentioned…wear travel clothes & keep your dress stuff in your bag until you get to the dance/bar/wherever. change in the washroom & just wear such clothes there. yes you might have to show up a bit earlier. i usually go about 15 minutes earlier….it doesnt take THAT long to get changed if you plan ahead & know what you want to look like when you get there.

    when you’re feeling about ready to leave…change back!

    ive done this more often than not. its a bit of a hassle…but worth it in the long run.

    • I too have done the change when you get there – usually in the dead of winter. I’ll pull pants on underneath a dress for the walk there and back but stash them in the coat check while I’m dancing. Same thing with shoes – especially when I was living in Scandinavia and walked everywhere. Even though it was very safe in the city I lived in, it was still a long walk on cobble stones and after getting a heel stuck once, I thought perhaps having boots for snowy walks was a good place to start.

  6. candystar says:

    “post edited”

    oops lol sorry

  7. Timberwolfe44 says:

    What everyone seems to forget is that it all comes down to “sexual preditor”
    logic. If the logic of “Of course she wants it, she brushed her hair didn”t she?”
    won’t take them where they want to go then it could become “the next girl
    that is wearing a blue jacket is the next winner”. Take away all appealing
    apparel and a “sexual preditor” will still find his prey. Enforce stronger, harsher
    and more public penalties as a deterent for “sexual preditors” is my suggestion.

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