Men, women and children have taken to the streets of cities all over the world in an event known as the “Slut Walk” to make it clear that women are not responsible for being raped.
The event first took place in Toronto on April 3 after a police officer suggested that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”
Since then, walks have been planned or taken place in cities such as Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston, New York City, London and Amsterdam, and a large Los Angeles walk is in the works.
These people have a valid reason to be outraged, and their dedication to spreading their message is admirable, but I believe that the approach they have taken is counterproductive to the message they are trying to send.
Let me be clear, I agree completely that a woman has the right to dress as she pleases, and the way her attire adds to her appearance, does not make her responsible for her rape in any way.
However, I believe that the decision to call this protest a “Slut Walk” and the attempt to change the meaning of the word is counterproductive to the goal at hand.
Those responsible for Slut Walk Toronto stated on their Twitter account on April 19 that the word “slut” is being reappropriated to mean someone who is sexually confident and enjoys consensual sex.
Yet as Megan Walker, director of the London Abused Women’s Centre in Ontario, Canada, said in a recent interview with 980AM, the organizers are trying to reclaim a word that never actually belonged to women.
Walker said the world “slut” is a patriarchal term used to degrade women and that the London Abused Women’s Centre has no interest in reclaiming the word or supporting the Slut Walks.
The use and fixation upon the word “slut” and the organizers’ attempt to take back the word has become the focus of the protests, leaving the larger problem and the initial reason for the Slut Walks unaddressed.
These protests should focus solely on the fact that women are still blamed for their rape because of how they choose to dress.
It was inappropriate for the Toronto police officer to make such a statement, and the assumption that a woman who dresses provocatively is a slut does need to be addressed.
However, the primary intent of the Slut Walks should be to draw attention to the fact that people still blame women for their rape based on attire.
This is an international problem, and changing the minds of the world population on a matter such as this will be difficult.
The purpose of these protests should therefore be more focused to deal with this specific issue first.
Lauren Creiman, a freshman journalism major, is LV Life editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.