Organisers of the Slutwalk rally declare: Sluts are sex workers. Sluts are virgins. Sluts are mothers with their teenage daughters. Sluts wear beanies, fishnet stockings, G-string leotards, polar fleece and jeans.
Are these women (and a few try hard blokes) completely and utterly crazy?
Of course rape is wrong. Of course ‘No’ means no. Of course women have the right to be safe wherever they are, whatever they choose to wear.
But hang on a second. What does a ‘right to be safe wherever they are, whatever they choose to wear’ actually mean?
Men don’t have any such right. Or maybe they do in theory.
But men, generally, understand that what they wear sends signals about who they are, what they might be up for, and what value they place on themselves. And generally, they stay out of places that might be unsafe. Even if they have a right, in theory, to go where they want, wearing what they want.
”My rape was not my fault!” Cody Smith told the crowd. A woman who has transitioned to being a man, he choked back tears as he described his guilt.
”I spent so many years blaming myself for my state of intoxication … for what I was wearing … for not being strong enough to keep the rapist off me.”
So you were alone with a man you did not know, dressed like a slut (their word, not mine) and crocked out of your brain, and what happened to you was not your fault.
I agree. It wasn’t your fault. If you said no in a way that your attacker could understand, then it was rape, and your attacker was criminally wrong.
But the reality is that we don’t just communicate using words. The clothes you wear, the make-up you use, how drunk you are, the way you walk, the way you talk, the places you go, all send signals.
This is true of men too of course. Women rightly use such cues to make decisions about the character and reliablity of the men they choose to be with.
This means both men and women should be aware of, and take responsibility for, the messages they send.
Right or wrong, like it or not, sometimes non-verbal cues outweigh what a person says in words. And if you make a series of decisions to dress in a certain way, drink more than you should, behave like a tart, pash on with a stranger, then don’t be surprised when a person whose physical responses you have elicited becomes confused about the messages you are sending.
Women should be safe. That is their right. If they want to be taken seriously and treated as equals and adults, they should also be responsible.
And yes, even when women won’t take responsibility, men should. Rape is always wrong.
I have stopped comments on this post. I have let most of those already made stand.
Really, people. I would have thought it obvious if I allow comments which swear at me or wish me dead, that I don’t agree with or endorse every comment made. So it makes little to zero sense to insult me further for the opinions of people who comment.
Secondly, as I thought I had made clear in my original post more than once, rape is an abhorrent crime. It is never acceptable or excusable. It is never right to blame the victim.
It is surely, however, given that there are rapists out there, reasonable to ask how women can be safer.
Asking how women can be safer is not the same thing as blaming them for being raped. Why would anyone make that assumption?
One of the things that concerned me about the Slutwalk is that it suggests that women are to be identified as sexual objects.
If you advertise yourself as sexually available in dress or speech, some people will assume you really are sexually available. Even if you say you are not, at very least you are sending mixed messages.
People should accept your no. Anyone who doesn’t is a pig and criminal. But the reality is, some people will either misread the messages, or choose to ignore what they don’t want to hear.
That is not your fault. It is theirs. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do to avoid being in that situation and to make yourself safer.
Being aware of your dress and actions and what they communicate, and taking steps to make yourself safer is simply part of being a responsible adult.
It may not be fair. But lots of things are not fair. We all have to live in the word as it is, not how we think it should be.
That seems obvious to me, and like one of the commenters, I am baffled about why saying so has caused so much anger.
You may disagree. I am happy to hear why. But telling me I should die a slow painful death, or swearing at me or calling me names is not going to convince me you are right.