“SlutWalk is not an event to recruit sluts, but to defend sluts”
If we understand ‘slut’ to mean someone (usually a woman) who dresses sexy, acts sexual, and/or has a lot of sex, there’s absolutely no harm done, and their sluttiness should be their right. Our goal is to re-claim the word ‘slut’, and make it not a negative insult but an empowering term. If a so-called ‘slut’ is abused or assaulted, she did not want it and she did not deserve it, and the people victimising her are every bit as guilty as if they did it to a ‘non-slut.’
The police officer who advised girls not to dress like sluts to ‘avoid being victimised’ voiced a commonly held and prejudiced misperception that rape is somehow connected to clothing and attitude. In reality, there is no evidence of a connection between clothing and sexual assault. Rape isn’t fuelled by sexual desire, it’s an act of deliberate violence and humiliation. As an ER worker, I regularly see rape victims come in. Most aren’t wearing miniskirts, but jeans, sweatpants, pyjamas, even hijabs – or, in the worst cases, little baby pyjamas with cartoon characters on them. Blaming clothes is a hypocritical solution, because there is no bottom to modesty. If all women covered every inch of their skin, the harassment would focus on women whose pants were deemed to tight, or whose hijab was deemed too colourful, or whatever…
“The SlutWalk movement aims to shift the blame away from the victim back to the offender”
The real problem is that women who are perceived as sluts are more likely to be blamed and less likely to be protected or get justice if they’re assaulted. This is the prejudice that the SlutWalk movement aims to denounce and change – to shift the blame away from the victim back to the offender. Enjoying consensual sex, even lots of it, isn’t a crime. Rape is.
There were mostly young people at the Boston march, but otherwise it was a very mixed crowd: a lot of women, but also men, gays, lesbians, people in revealing clothes, people dressed conservatively, sexually active singles, monogamous couples, celibates… Absolutely no-one was telling the modestly dressed people that they needed to be sluttier. SlutWalk is not an event to recruit sluts, but to defend sluts. The name of the movement may seem provocative, but the important thing is the positive and empowering message we’re trying to get across.”