Diatribe | Issue 22

Diatribe | Issue 22

Sluts get their walk on

SlutWalk originated in 2011 in Toronto when a police officer told a group of women that if they didn’t want to get raped they should avoid dressing like “sluts”. SlutWalk was a response to the attitudes expressed by this officer and the culture which blames survivors and excuse perpetrators.

SlutWalk is about appealing the rape culture in which we live. A culture which condones, trivialises, and perpetuates sexual violence.

SlutWalk is about protesting the way this rape culture is institutionalised in our criminal justice system. Research shows that police officers still make judgments about what “kind” of women get raped and subsequently only 9% of all rapes are reported, 42% are prosecuted, and 13% are convicted.

SlutWalk is about crying out against a culture where 1 in 4 women, 1 in 20 men, 1 in 3 girls, and 1 in 6 boys will experience some form of rape or sexual abuse in their lifetime, but will not have access to adequate support services.

SlutWalk is about standing up against a culture which excuses rapists and blames victims by labelling them as “sluts”.

SlutWalk is about speaking out against a culture where “slut” is used to police, degrade, and stigmatise women’s bodies, behavior, appearance, and sexualities.

SlutWalk is about contesting patriarchal constructions of female sexuality which hold that women are responsible for managing their risk of victimisation and that active female sexuality invites violence.

SlutWalk is about questioning patriarchal constructions of male sexuality which depict men as aggressive, out of control, and violent. SlutWalk is about believing that men are more than that.

SlutWalk is about saying no matter how much, how little, or what kind of sex we have, women have the right to consent to sex, to wear what they want, and to be safe.

Slutwalk is about resisting a culture which tells women that their bodies and sexualities are equivalent to their value and worth as individuals.

SlutWalk is about creating a culture that is free from rape and violence.

SlutWalk is about knowing that together we are powerful and that we can create change.

“Ehara taku toa i Te toa taki tahi engari he toa taki tini taku toa”

My strength is not of mine alone but that of the multitude.
This article first appeared in Issue 22, 2012.
Posted 5:17pm Sunday 2nd September 2012 by Rape Crisis Dunedin.