Kelly: Why we need to march
(Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault.)
In June 2011 a Slutwalk will be held in London. The point of the Slutwalk is to raise awareness of how rape is still very much seen as the fault of the victim. Victim blaming and slut shaming have to end. I, along with some friends and a bunch of other incredible women will be in attandance to show that regardless of how we dress we are not asking to be victims of any form of sexual assault or harassment. Because, believe it or not, not one of us is dressing for anyone other than ourselves.
So, In order to get this Ker-azy rant of the ground I’ m going to start with something we all hear way to often and oh how it makes my blood boil.
“Look how she was dressed, she as asking for it.”
Lets start at the beginning, deconstruct this a little.
“Look how she was dressed.”
How was she dressed? Was she popping to the corner shop in her pyjamas? Was she on her way home from work in her bright red power suit? Was she on her way to the gym in her tracksuit? Our survey says EH-EH, because stereotypically none of these women seem to be asking for anything. They are all perfectly respectable ladies, just going about their lives, without fearing for their safety because why should they? Oh wait I see what you meant, that woman you were talking about, she wasn’t wearing a tracksuit. She was on a night out, she was wearing that super short dress that left nothing to the imagination. SLUT! I get it now. If you dress slutty, show a bit of cleavage, a little bit of leg, bad things will happen and it’ll be all your fault. Don’t act like you weren’t warned.
Apparently nothing bad ever happens to the respectable ladies in power suits. Right? Wrong. Rape can affect anyone, regardless of their outfit, their location, their levels of sobriety.
On to part two – Now I’m not a brain scientist but I’m pretty sure, that regardless of her outfit, she, or he, (men get raped too, although their outfit is rarely brought in to question) was not asking for. Who in the name of fuckery asks to be raped? Honestly? Who? Anyone? Right. Ok, so we are agreeing that no one has ever asked to be raped in the history of forever? And that it follows that what someone is wearing is not actually some kind of coded ‘rape me’ signal? Thought not, lets move on.
Next and I feel some what importantly, can we also agree that rape is not a new thing? Rape, amazingly, existed before body-con dresses, hot pants and WKD. Rape is actually mentioned in the Old Testament, that’s the bit of The Bible that dates from 13th century BCE. That my friends, is a long fucking time ago. Way, way, way before this wonderful culture of victim blaming and slut shaming was introduced.
Rapist, you see, tend to be opportunists, and rape, more often than not, is about exerting power over someone not about sex. How you are dressed is very, very, very unlikely to affect whether or not you are raped because rapist don’t care what you’re wearing. It is for this very reason that slut shaming and victim blaming need to be stopped, victims of rape need to understand that it was not their fault, they do not deserve it, they were not asking. for it.
Rape is a case of ‘wrong place, wrong time’ not ‘night out, revealing dress’.
I hope that all made sense, it sort of fell out of me in a mad jumble.
Thank you to Kelly - who made perfect sense.
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SlutWalk London 2012 - Saturday 22nd September 2012, meet 12.30pm at Top of Piccadilly (near Hyde Park Corner).
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SlutWalk London 2012!
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Photos: Tom Radenz and Claire Butler