Forums > Personal > Officer Sanguinetti and the 'SlutWalks'

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Posted: 09 May 11, 10:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

This rapidly (and globally) spreading phenomenon is really starting to fascinate me.   For those who haven't read about this, a Toronto cop raised an absolute shitstorm early this year while attending a campus safety meeting at York University by giving the women there the following advice about avoiding sexual assault:

"You know, I think we're beating around the bush here," Michael Sanguinetti began, blandly enough, as he addressed the 10 students who turned up for the pep talk. Then he said: "I've been told I'm not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised." From http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/06/slutwalking-policeman-talk-clothing

A few thousand Toronto citizens organized what they called a 'SlutWalk' in response to what they viewed as victim blaming/shaming by a representative of the Toronto Police Service and the underlying attitudes they believe it indicates still thrive.  'SlutWalks' have now popped up or are planned  in the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and other places all around the world.

What's fascinating is the breadth of opinion and the polarization between those who see the cop's comments as completely unacceptable and those that think he was speaking a fundamental truth that is typically stifled by political correctness and that women need to take responsibility for protecting themselves in this particular way.  The latter group feel what was intended as pragmatic advice has been twisted to include an implication of justification for sexual assault for the political advancement of a feminist perspective.

Thoughts?

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Posted: 09 May 11, 10:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

its giving a local business here in Cornwall a helluva lot of publicity,i let you google "slut" and "cornwall" :-D

no such thing as bad publicity..


isnt innuendo an italian suppository?

im gonna ride the wild wind!

its_a_hard_life wrote:you nutcase you rule!

joxer replies: but in a nice way :-]

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Posted: 09 May 11, 12:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm a big black smelly black man!

Kidding aside, though, I'm behind the idea.  I don't know how effective the term 'SlutWalk' is going to be though.  It's a little like holding a NiggerMarch - in a sense you are reclaiming the word, or whatever, but to the average thicko it probably won't mean much.  They'll just giggle and say "sluts", and forget about it.

Maybe I'm being a pessimist, though.  I'm glad it's in the media because the slutshaming thing has got to stop.  A lot of allegedly red-blooded men don't seem to realise that if they ever have daughters, this is the kind of fucking useless world they're going to have to live in, and frankly - I want better for my offspring (the offspring I'd be having if I could get a date, that is).


"Your not funny, your not a good musician, theres a difference between being funny and being an idiot, you obviously being the latter" - Dave R Fuller
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Posted: 09 May 11, 16:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm still not sure what to think -- one of those things where i can see both sides of the issue.  Yes, of course we should be allowed to 'express ourselves' etc, without fear that it will lead to violence, it SHOULDN'T be a question -- we should of course be allowed to dress as we want without fear of being attacked.  But i also see the side of the cop, cos in my city, the cops spend a lot of time on fri, sat and sun nights picking up young, very provocatively dressed, extremely drunk young girls for their own safety.  (that sounded rly bad, i realised after i typed it lol).  And yes we should be able to dress as we like but do we let males 'express their sexuality' publicly?  And society has gotten extremely sexualised, which is not the 'fault' of the average male or female on the street.  I grew up in a very conservative religious group which emphasised both modesty for girls AND purity for boys -- in other words, the guys were respectful but also the girls dressed in a way that made it easier for the men to act that way.  So i do see both sides of the coin, BUT having said that, it is clearly not the fault of a girl who gets attacked.

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Posted: 09 May 11, 19:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Jew!


"Your not funny, your not a good musician, theres a difference between being funny and being an idiot, you obviously being the latter" - Dave R Fuller
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Posted: 10 May 11, 04:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Zebonka12 wrote: *shrug* in terms of who's to blame for a crime, I think it's pretty cut and dried.  I know people who have had to deal with the "you dressed like a whore, you were asking for it" nonsense - don't even get me started on the "did you enjoy it?" bullshit that is occasionally thrown about.

Not to equate women with goods, but if someone steals a bigscreen TV, you don't blame the shop for putting it in the window.  You blame the stupid fuck who broke the window and stole the TV.  Ok, so it might not be the most tactical thing to go by yourself, at night, in a tiny skirt, down a street full of shady looking characters - but even with a scenario like that, the blame still lies absolutely with the person doing the assault.  It's always a good idea to try and minimise risk - avoid certain places, travel with friends, etc.  The ultimate truth is that anything can happen anywhere - even under your own roof.  You can only do your best to try and make some things less likely to happen.

Absolutely, i agree 200% but like u said -- sometimes unfortunately we need to minimise risk at times.  And shops install security cameras, they dont leave their big screen tvs out on their own with no protection.  Absolutely, it is the choice of the rapist to commit the crime, therefore his (or i guess her if its a girl) fault.  But i do see the point of the person who said basically we live in a crappy world, this is one thing u can do to be safer.  We are aware of the need to close handbags, etc, not have money/expensive things visible and accessible, maybe some thought should go into how we dress, at least in dodgy areas.  And making sure that other things are safer too like u said, dont go to dodgy places, be with other ppl and so on.  Maybe im a woman-hatiing woman, but i can see the point in not drawing attention to ur body when ur on ur own in shoes u cant run away in and in an area where u dont know people.  Of course it would be nice to live in a perfect world, but sadly we dont.

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Posted: 10 May 11, 12:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Great points all around thus far, which have made me think a ton of stuff I want to share, but alas I don't have enough time right this hour. 

I got more than casually interested in this when I read a piece called "A Funny Thing About the SlutWalk" the other day that left me furious and disgusted.  Reading other people's ideas - particularly if they seem to be in opposition to whatever I'd been thinking thus far - usually spark curiousity and a great sense of being intellectually challenged, which I typically love.  There is little more rewarding in this kind of thing than learning something, especially to the point of changing your mind, or even part of it. But this piece just made me really angry, which is such an usual reaction for me that I've been trying to figure it out ever since.  It's not just her basic premise - which is similar to catqueen's, and catqueen's thoughts didn't raise any ire in me at all - in fact I'm really glad there's someone on the thread arguing that position, it's something else that I'm still trying to figure out.  So here it is, following by the later retraction from the editors, which some have criticized as pandering and unnecessary.

The Funny Thing About the SlutWalk

We're So Sorry About The Funny Thing About the Slutwalk

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Posted: 10 May 11, 12:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

And one more quick thing:  the very first thing I wondered when I read about this way back, and an important thing to establish I thought, was "Does a meaningful correlation between sexual assault and provocative clothing or behaviour exist?"  You'd be amazed at how hard that's been to pin down.

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Posted: 10 May 11, 12:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Um i wasnt saying it anything NEAR as strong as that article said!!!  I don;t think the victim is to blame for a rape, and most rapes are not random ppl on the street.  But i also know that how u handle urself does unfortunately impact on how other people perceive u.  I hate it when i get whistled at in the street, and i hate it when a guy blatently checks me out.  And i cant imagine the pain of being attacked, or an attempted attack.  And i dont think u should say someone is 'dressing like a slut' either, not do i think women should be termed 'sluts' for liking sex.  We should be able to express ourselves, but we should also learn to protect ourselves as much as we can.  But in reality, very few rapes occur while walking down the street.  Most are by people that are known by the victim.  So i dont know how relevant this even is to a discussion of rape -- maybe more relevant to a discussion of violation in general, as in whistles, innappropriate touch, intimidation, unwanted advances, etc, rather then actual rape.

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Posted: 10 May 11, 12:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sorry catqueen ... I know absolutely there were many differences between your thoughts and hers ... that's what I was trying to get across - sorry if I wasn't clear enough.    I was just afraid you'd hear me say she made me furious and see some similarities between the positions and think I was disparaging your thoughts.  That's all I was trying to avoid. :)

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Posted: 10 May 11, 14:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The big fallacy with what the cop said is sort of highlighted when you consider the number of geriatrics that get raped.  Or the mentally and physically disabled.  You can't accuse any of these people of "dressing like a slut" - sexy clothes might seed certain ideas in the minds of the already deranged, but the fact is that it can happen any old where, regardless of how one dresses.  

I think there are important and valid points to be made by this recent thread of activism, but again I really worry that it might fly over some folks heads, because of the terminology used.  Gay events are called pride parades, not faggot marches.  African American events usually don't have the prefix of 'jigaboo' in the title.  Using the word 'slut' will get attention, but I can't help wonder at the possible trivialisation it might cause -in the minds of some-.  I hope I'm worrying over nothing, on that point.


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Posted: 11 May 11, 23:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I've started about 10 replies in my head over the last couple of days.  I think I could easily think about this for a month.  There are so many angles, so many places one could start.  I think if I wait until for complete coherence I'll never post on my own thread.  So for now, I read this tonight:

http://alphagameplan.blogspot.com/2011/05/rapebait.html

Crude and willing to provoke, but I've seen these thoughts many times out there in some form or another, particularly the essence of this:

I find the clueless, histrionic response to the Toronto cop's perfectly sensible remarks to be both amusing and all too predictable.  As I have repeatedly pointed out, many women absolutely hate the idea that their decisions and actions have any consequences and feminists have been actively fighting reality in this manner for literal decades. 

I also saw it expressed like this:

The cop was there to talk about personal safety. But giving them tips to avoid personal crimes is an insult because women have the right to not be victimized, whether it's rape, a mugging, or a punch in the nose. (Wasn't "Take Back the Night" about not being able to walk alone after dark?)

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Posted: 11 May 11, 23:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

^ Meant to add that it feels like there's a point in there worth thinking about, whether to agree or refute, partially or wholly, despite the misogynistic patina.

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Posted: 14 May 11, 05:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Interesting article... and he has a point that rape is generally more about power then about sex.  In general its a bit strong, i don't believe (as before) that the victim is at fault.  Having said that, the thought crossed my mind that how would we view a straight man, drunk, but very well dressed and manicured and somehow being provocative, walking through a semi-rough gay area on his own, in the dark, without knowing the area.  :/  There are places in cities where it is safer to simply avoid the place.  It should not be so, but unfortunately we live in a broken world.  I had a teacher once who worked in a hostel for homeless men, and she mentioned that in her years of working (mainly with men, mainly in difficult settings), she had never once been hurt.  She said that women in men's centres rarely get attacked as in hit, but that there can be issues around innapropriate touch.  Her take on it was that it has a lot to do with the way you carry yourself.  Dress decently, and be confident, and don't come across as provocative (she was really pretty, and quite young, incidently).  Another person I heard speak worked in a drug rehab service, and mentioned that dress isn't really an issue, there are some barbies working in the service, just be careful how you handle yourself.  And as zebonka said, a lot of people are raped/assaulted who have not dressed or acted in the least provocative way, and most rape victims know their rapist.

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Posted: 14 May 11, 11:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

About a month ago two British male tourists visiting Florida were robbed and murdered when they got lost at night in Miami. Did you hear of it?  They had been out clubbing, drinking, having a good time and had asked for directions to an all night breakfast place called IHOP (International House of Pancakes)  -  all they wanted was some food - however it all went downhill because it was way after dark (early morning hours) they were on foot and unfamiliar with the area and got lost in a really bad part of town - were unfortunately for them both it ended in violence & death by gunshots.  The police arrested a 16 year old suspect for this crime.  Those young men from Britain lost their lives and their families have to live on with this pain of a life without them.  Hearing of this crime really sickened me .... you hate to hear of any crime, but crimes against tourists who visit the USA are particularly bad to hear about - as they make the whole country look bad in the eyes of the world.  Could this crime have been averted?  I so want to go back in time to save them, to tell them both NOT to wander down the street buzzed in a place like Miami at night - but of course it cannot be.  

Sorry that this was off the topic of slut dress but someone earlier stated the good advice to minimize risk and that goes for both male and female.


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Posted: 14 May 11, 17:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I keep waiting for some kind of clarity to post, but I don't think it's going to come running around in circles in my own head. So I'm just going to throw out some of the thoughts I've had and see if that focuses anything for me.

There seems to be little in the literature indicating that provocative clothing is a significant factor in sexual assault taken as a whole, but there is some indication that it may be at least a co-factor in some smaller percentage of incidents, particularly some percentage of date rate or withdrawal of consent scenarios. That's the assumption I'm going to operate on anyway.

So I think it's probably true that there are some small subset of victims that would not have been victims had they made different choices, one of which was their clothing.  But I also think there are a number of law abiding black or hispanic men who wouldn't have been pulled over by the police had they purchased old wrecks rather than vehicles that caucasian men drive without incident everyday.  So simply noting that some superficial factor contributes to a result does not alone indicate where the burden of mitigating that factor lies.  A community worker educating a group of young black men would never say "I think we're beating around the bush here.  I've been told I'm not supposed to say this, but if you want to avoid being victimized by the police, don't buy a nice car after graduation."  The uproar would be swift and unanimous.  We know racial and slut profiling (for want of a better term) happens, and few think that any unjust consequences are deserved, but where we manage the first through vigilant promotion of education, tolerance and sensitivity aimed at the 'offenders' and society as a whole, perfectly thoughtful rational people have said - and by the bushel - that the burden is on the woman to mitigate this risk by better covering her body.  I am not at all sure that's right.  We also have the option of vigilance in this case, the option of constant pressure to erode the passive social blessing of a fatalistic connection between appearance and notions of consent and incitement.

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Posted: 14 May 11, 18:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

queenUSA wrote:

Sorry that this was off the topic of slut dress but someone earlier stated the good advice to minimize risk and that goes for both male and female.
=======================

That was a sad story.  I know exactly how you feel about violent incidents happening to visitors.  In Canada there was recently a case of Chinese student being murdered while studying in Toronto.  The case received a lot of attention because her boyfriend in China witnessed part of the attack during a webcam conversation with her. You feel a great sadness that the wrong place in the 'wrong place wrong time' was your own country, and great sadness in the irony of violent death far away from home in pursuit of new experience and personal enrichment.  They put their hopes and trust in your country and it let them down in the worst way possible.

Anyway, in relation to this topic I don't think women generally resent advice to avoid dangerous or unfamiliar places late at night.  I think some women resent the implication that they themselves create dangerous places with their own bodies.

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Posted: 14 May 11, 22:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Zebonka12 wrote:

I think there are important and valid points to be made by this recent thread of activism, but again I really worry that it might fly over some folks heads, because of the terminology used.  Gay events are called pride parades, not faggot marches.  African American events usually don't have the prefix of 'jigaboo' in the title.  Using the word 'slut' will get attention, but I can't help wonder at the possible trivialisation it might cause -in the minds of some-.  I hope I'm worrying over nothing, on that point.
===========================

As a focus and marketing device "SlutWalk" is strikingly brilliant.  It's got to be a hugely significant reason for the global spread of the movement.  I do I think as well that there is a genuine need to consider and debate the very specific meme the cop elected to highlight, and retaining the word 'Slut' facilitates that.  There are literally thousands of conversations like the one we're having here going on all over the internet and in homes and at workplaces that I'm almost sure wouldn't be going on otherwise. Few are indifferent which breeds lively exchanges and means that no mainstream opinion piece on any side of the issue goes unchallenged in the commentary.  Everybody paying attention is getting thoroughly exposed to thoughts on all sides, and I think that's great.   Sure, some are just going to think it's absurd that people want to call themselves proud sluts or whatever and just tune out or actively resist all parts of the message, but I think far more find themselves thinking and arguing about something that simply wasn't on their radar at all a month ago.

The motivation of the founding members is to reclaim the word slut on the principle that women have suffered disproportionately under it's yoke.  That's true enough - see Joxer's post about the men's clothing line.   Outside of porn, no woman can go out in a t-shirt emblazoned with the word 'SLUT' across the chest.  But really, so what.  It is a double standard, but I could get more passionate about this angle if I didn't think it was obnoxiously obvious how much worse men have it than women now in sex and gender politics.  Women can get away with far, far more on almost every front.  Women can do and say things absolutely without consequence that would get a man labelled a pervert or a cad in a heartbeat.  If accusations of criminal or social sexual impropriety are made towards a man there is a strong propensity to automatically assume guilt.   Women freely joke about violence towards men and sometimes freely commit it without consequence.  I can't count how many loathsome joke emails I get that endlessly belittle and diminish men in the guise of humour in ways that would never, never be socially acceptable in the reverse.  A colleague came into my office the other day and plunked herself down in a chair and out of the blue started talking about some kind of creature that reproduced asexually and said with absolute seriousness that it's too bad we needed men to reproduce because otherwise we could just be done with them. And she just married her second husband not even a year ago.  I was kind of stunned and definitely annoyed.  At what point does feminism run a little amok become culturally acceptable misandry? Personally I think we're past that point and while I'm not sure what the real consequences are it still makes me really uncomfortable.

I think that value of the 'Slut' in "SlutWalk' is in saying that even if you think somebody is a slut, whatever that means to you, there is a fundamental line you do not cross, a fundamental degree of respect that the slut deserves as a human being that means you cannot take her body through force or coercion without facing legal consequences, period.

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Posted: 14 May 11, 23:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

catqueen wrote: Interesting article... and he has a point that rape is generally more about power then about sex.  In general its a bit strong, i don't believe (as before) that the victim is at fault.  Having said that, the thought crossed my mind that how would we view a straight man, drunk, but very well dressed and manicured and somehow being provocative, walking through a semi-rough gay area on his own, in the dark, without knowing the area.  :/  There are places in cities where it is safer to simply avoid the place.  It should not be so, but unfortunately we live in a broken world.  I had a teacher once who worked in a hostel for homeless men, and she mentioned that in her years of working (mainly with men, mainly in difficult settings), she had never once been hurt.  She said that women in men's centres rarely get attacked as in hit, but that there can be issues around innapropriate touch.  Her take on it was that it has a lot to do with the way you carry yourself.  Dress decently, and be confident, and don't come across as provocative (she was really pretty, and quite young, incidently).  Another person I heard speak worked in a drug rehab service, and mentioned that dress isn't really an issue, there are some barbies working in the service, just be careful how you handle yourself.  And as zebonka said, a lot of people are raped/assaulted who have not dressed or acted in the least provocative way, and most rape victims know their rapist.
===============================

I think he was saying that rape being more about power than sex was largely a feminist delusion rather than supporting that idea.   Personally I think like any other crime sexual assault probably has various motives, sometimes overlapping, depending on the situation.

I think you could put the same set of clothes on two different women and still have two completely different people project completely different 'victim' signals making them about as likely as before to land in the kind of potential trouble you're describing in those workplaces, or anywhere else. As you've noted, clothes are only a part of it.  I'd argue a pretty small part of it if we're limiting this to becoming a victim, or not.

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Posted: 16 May 11, 15:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Note to Mr. IMF: There's a SlutWalk scheduled in New York City on August 20.  If you're free.  Like free-free.  Probably can't hurt.  Just sayin'. ;)