April 5, 2011

What ought a woman do to avoid sexual assault? {featured news}

What do you think a woman should do to protect herself from sexual assault? Dress less provocatively? And if so, how short can the skirt be, how low cut the blouse, how high the heals, and what amount of make-up? I'm asking, because as you may have read elsewhere, in January, a Toronto police officer suggested at a law school campus safety and security forum, that "women can avoid sexual assault by not dressing like a 'slut.'"

In response, a group of women launched the SlutWalk Toronto movement, asserting that "being assaulted isn’t about what you wear." The movement seeks to unite women and men of all gender expressions and orientations in Canada, the US and beyond "to make a unified statement about sexual assault and victims’ rights and to demand respect for all."

In February, the officer apologized for the statement in a letter attached to an email addressed to the law school community, but the student federation was not appeased by this, calling for a third-party audit of the police service.

Then last weekend, about 1,000 people gathered in downtown Toronto for a "Slut Walk" organized by SlutWalk Toronto with a call to action for sister walks that are now springing up across the US and Canada. See video here and photos here. Learn more at slutwalktoronto.com.


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