News Jun 15, 2011 at 4:00 am

Why One Rape Victim Will March in the SlutWalk on June 19


Thanks to Cienna for a great article and to Lissa for bravely sharing her story. See you at SlutWalk!
Seriously what the hell is wrong with people? We are not living in the 50's here and a woman's sexuality or the way she dresses should not be used against her, exspecially for things like rape. It dosen't matter if she was flirting with him or if she was wearing a mini skirt and high heels, if she says no it means back the hell off. Being raped dosen't make any woman a slut, it makes her a victim and her attacker should be the one paying the price.
Even more disturbing than the Westboro psychos will be all the guys who show up to leer at the scantily clad marchers.

No thanks. If you have to sexify feminism in order to get people interested in what you have to say, you're defeating the fucking purpose.
Guys showing up to look is beside the point. As long as none of them rape anyone, it's all good. Objectification isn't about staring at scantily clad people, it's about treating said people like objects.
@3, and yet no one would accuse a man who goes shirtless on a hot summer day of somehow doing damage to his gender's image.

In fact, when a sexy man gets attention from women, that's seen as a strength.

If you have to de-sexify feminism in order to get people interested in what you have to say, that's defeating the fucking purpose.
#5, and men also don't need to have a march to defend their right to wear what they want to wear.

I absolutely agree women should be able to go topless on the beach, walk around shirtless, etc, on summer days. Yet I also feel that the whole "let's play dress up and be cute while fighting for our rights" is a completely wrong headed way to achieve those goals. Pretending the double standards don't exist does nothing to actually change those double standards.

Normalizing non-sexual female nudity is what needs to happen before women and men can be sexualized equally. Not more "let's be sexy AND smart" publicity stunts like this.
@3 and 6.
Look at the picture attached to the article. See what I'm wearing? That is a recreation of what I was wearing when I was raped. And after the fact, days later when I returned to my dorm room which was the scene of the crime, the word Slut had been scrawled across my door.
That is what I will be wearing. One of my friends will be wearing the velvet leggings that bore the blame for her rape.
The point of the march is that it doesn't matter what some one is wearing. Bikinis don't cause rape, and burqas don't prevent it. That is the point.

To reiterate what 1 said: thanks for sharing your story Lissa, and see you on Sunday!
I admire you for sharing this in public, how brave! I think I will try to find a similar outfit to the one I was wearing for my one adult experience. See you at the slutwalk.
#7, I get that. I do, and my remarks aren't directed at you. I've been sexually assaulted (not raped, but groped plenty of times) while wearing normal clothes, as well. I know what you wear doesn't matter when it comes to rape and assault. Rapists gonna rape. But women's clothing matters in general, regardless of whether you want it to.

For example, Slutwalk is being promoted as women dressed in skimpy clothing marching. That's what the media has latched onto, and that and it's titillating name are what is getting it so much press.

And many women will be there playing dress up, enthusiastically participating in their own exploitation, having convinced themselves that this is what feminism is about. Thinking they are somehow "manipulating" the system, because they've CHOSEN to flaunt their bodies, when the reality is that the system wouldn't even have been interested in them if they weren't promised skin, and the flaunters wouldn't feel so empowered if they weren't getting a positive reaction.

Like I said, if the way women dress weren't an issue, you wouldn't need to have a march.
simple case of testosterone over load…
@5: There's a huge difference between a topless man and a topless woman, and you know it. And I would say that frequently, topless women who get attention from males see it as strength, too.

@6: You gotta do what ya gotta do to attract attention to your cause. Men have historically used their physical strength over women- women should recognize the power of boobies and use them to their advantage. And we will never 'normalize non-sexual female nudity', because men are hard-wired to lose their ability to think once boobies are present. That's just the facts of life.

@10: "Rapists gonna rape." I can't believe you made me lol at rape. That's just wrong. :-p

@Lissa: Blaming the victim is how we cope with the uncertainty of life. You see, this could never happen to me, because this only happens to sluts. So I'm safe, as long as you're a slut. And you WERE wearing red, I mean, you were obviously looking for attention. /sarcasm (Also, you have balls bigger than Stephen Colbert's for speaking out like this. I don't even have the words for how much I respect that kind of bravery.)

I really wish no one would try to legitimatize the idea of slutiness, though. Promiscuous sex really is unhealthy, particularly for women, and I don't think it should be encouraged. Being considered a slut should be a bad thing, for women AND men. And it should have no bearing on conversations about rape, because it doesn't matter if a woman has slept with 999 men, she's still under no obligation to sleep with 1000 if she doesn't want to.

Kind of random, in a blame-the-victim way, a pro-gun friend was arguing with me about whether or not owning a gun was a necessary and safe (or particularly effective) form of home defense, and he told me that if someone breaks in and rapes and kills me, it will be my fault for not keeping a gun handy at all times. So it's not just sluttiness that can make rape the victims fault.
while i don't want to harsh anyone who marches at an anti-rape rally, one of the things that makes me devoted to feminism and become progressively more radical is the realization that my female body CAN'T be used in protest in this culture. It can only be seen through the lens of sexualization, and the power to decide what dressing up in pasties and heels and fishnets means is not mine. My body is either fuckable or unfuckable, and that will change depending solely on the standards to which I am compared, not by my own volition, and I will be raped and punished and rebuked for it just because of what it is.
It's not an empowering thing. It's a depressing and horrible thing, and it's tied up in rape culture. I wish fishnets and burlesque could end rape, but it's not going to go that way. That is what makes me an angry, humorless feminist, that what my body signifies culturally has nothing to do with what sex means to me.
I think it's most interesting that many women have made a point to wear the boring, everyday stuff that they were actually raped in, and i think that makes way more of a statement than demanding to be able to wear the trappings of toxic sexuality and not get raped while obviously buying into the overall structure of rape culture and call it "Slutwalk". "Sexy"= bullshit.
So yeah, I'm with @3/6/10
again, not a personal attack on the woman featured in the article, more a concern with the current in feminism right now that is convinced sexiness and fake empowerment can go hand in hand with a revolution that ends rape and sexism, and leads to thinking the most compelling option for a march against rape is to name it "Slutwalk".
I don't understand this event.

Is this a show of solidarity amongst innocent victims of sexual assault? Is this a celebration of slutty lifestyles? Is this an attempt to re-define a word in the English language?

From what I can tell, all this event is doing is creating an unnecessary association between the words "slut" and "rape victim".

I genuinely do not understand this event.
@17: Did you bother to read the article you just commented on??
@17: Oh Sweetie, that association is already the status quo. That's the point.
@18 & 19:

Please indicate which attitude most clearly describes the spirit of this march:

A) Rape victims are not sluts! Rape is a horrible crime. How dare you label an innocent victim with a dirty word like "slut"!

B) Being slutty is certainly not admirable, but sluts are still human beings, and no human being deserves to be raped.

C) Being slutty is awesome! SlutPRIDE!

D) The term derogatory term "slut" has been used to demean women for hundreds of years. It is often used out of context and thrown at women to slander them and reinforce a patriarchal power structure. Let's appropriate this word and use it as a term of endearment in order to re-wire the relationship between name-callers and those being called dirty names!

BTW - there is no "all of the above" answer here, because these attitudes are completely different from one another, and some of them are mutually exclusive.

PS - Before I read about this event, it had been about a decade since I'd heard anyone try to associate the word "slut" with a victim of rape. Congratulations.
@17 but is it really the status quo? apart from a few unreconstructed male types who have somehow missed out on the last 35 years of gender politics.

Surely the point is that rape victims are never 'asking for it', irrespective of the clothes they're wearing?
@20: Ok, in case you were not aware, I am the woman in the article. And what I am wearing in the picture is a recreation of what I was wearing when I was raped. After the rape some one scrawled Slut on my dorm room door. Not sure if you already got all that, so just to clarify.

We the marchers and organizers of Slut Walk didn't pull this word association out of thin air. This all started in reaction to a Canadian police officer advising a group of university women that to protect themselves from rape they shouldn't dress like sluts he said that in January of this year. The fact that you personally haven't heard that sort of thing recently doesn't mean that it isn't being said. I invite you to glance at the comments on the article in The Seattle Times covering this event if you require further evidence of that fact.
But I'm afraid that I must disagree with your caveat that there can be no "All Of The Above" answer to your question, and that is because slut is such a fungible word. It is currently undergoing the same metamorphosis that queer did. The gay community took a "dirty word" (see your example A) that had been (and still is) used against them in a derogatory manner and reclaimed it,(see your example D). Your example C is the logical out growth of that reclamation. Slut in it's derogatory sense was used against women for being sexually active.( see the example that started this movement). Being a sexually active woman is in actual fact "awesome", so it is perfectly appropriate to say that yes, "being slutty is awesome".
But all that aside, none of your examples are pertinent to the question. The attitude that most clearly describes the spirit of Slut Walk, the umbrella that sheltered all of the different women at the march, in all the different ways they chose to express it, is this:
Rape Is Always The Rapist's Fault.
It doesn't matter what you are wearing, or where you are, or how much you have had to drink, or what time of day it is, or if you know your attacker, or who you are, or what you do for a living.
Rape Is Always The Rapist's Fault.
You got hung up on the word slut. Is it a culturally loaded and provocative word? Yes. Will it always be? No. That its use made you uncomfortable is good. It made you think about the problem of rape in society, and have this conversation.

@21: The answer to both your questions is yes. There are a lot more than a "few unreconstructed male types" who believe that women who are raped are asking for it and are sluts because they were raped. Because being raped means you are a slut and sluts are asking for it. This reasoning doesn't make any sense of course, but it is still all too common.
@20 "Before I read about this event, it had been about a decade since I'd heard anyone try to associate the word "slut" with a victim of rape. Congratulations."

wow, ignorant condescension much?

wait no, i'm sorry, i'm sure you've been following every single news story about rape that's happened in the last decade, and I'm sure you've gone city to city and personally interviewed everyone who's been raped and all their friends and associates, and not one single person in the thousands you've talked to have used the word "slut" in that context.

wait, no, i was right the first time, you don't know what you're talking about.
@Lissa: "'Being a sexually active woman is in actual fact "awesome", so it is perfectly appropriate to say that yes, "being slutty is awesome'."

NO! Slow down here. Being sexually active is not the same as being slutty. If you have been having sex multiple times a day with the same partner for years, then you are sexually active and it IS "awesome". If you are going out every weekend and picking up a different person in a bar and fucking them, you are a SLUT, whether you are male or female, and it is NOT a good thing. You are risking spreading disease (condoms don't necessarily protect against HPV and other STDs), and you risk making a child with someone who is not an appropriate co-parent. Most women and many men also risk their emotional health every time they take a new partner. Most people are not hard-wired to treat sex as casually as some pretend.

These risks apply to both men and women. They can be minimized, but not eliminated. Enjoying sex is not an excuse to be self-destructive. It's not an excuse to use poor judgement and disrespect your body. Being a SLUT is a bad, dirty thing. As a female, I will not sleep with slutty men, because they are just as gross as slutty women.

Again, equating promiscuity and rape is entirely misguided. The person who wrote "slut" on your door was wrong to do so, but I don't think you're helping by trying to make the word "slut" a good thing. Rather, you should try to make the idea of a connection between the two the bad thing.
Isn't the point of the event to educate people like #20? Strengthen women's pride in themselves and their sexuality (however they deem to express it). That 'NO' regardless of dress, location and GENDER should always be honored. To broaden it out... women are not the only gender to be raped.. so can men. It's often not talked about and SOCIETY has a nasty habit of wanting to place the blame on the victim. Somewhere along the way it became OK to justify cruelties and un-civilities in our society rather than fix/change/educate on them to prevent further occurences.:(

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