On May 15, 2011 Vancouver witnessed Slutwalk with over 4,000 people of different ages, races, genders, and backgrounds marching to bring change! We are bringing change to the culture of violence that puts the blame on women who are sexually assaulted.
We have also witnessed support, as well as criticism of the movement for different reasons. The critiques of Slutwalk ignore the fact that the term ‘slut’ is meant to dismiss women’s experiences of violence and to shame women’s sexuality. For WAVAW the Slutwalk movement is not about reclaiming the word ‘slut’, it is about reframing the conversation of sexual assault and rape, and putting the blame where it belongs, on the rapists. In this conversation we must also acknowledge the intersection of different forms of oppressions which impact society’s response to sexualized violence. These responses are rooted in the two most prevalent forms of oppression, patriarchy and white supremacy, and the institutions built upon them. These institutions include the family system, the Political System, the Health Care, the Criminal Justice and other systems that promote victim blaming and sex shaming.
WAVAW was a visible and vocal participant in Slutwalk Vancouver because this is the work we do and we have done for 29 years; the work of trying to change societal values towards sexual assault/rape within a feminist / anti-oppression framework. We have been clear in our message that conflating women’s sexuality with sexualized violence allows for just those attitudes; the attitudes that made it necessary for protests all across Canada and elsewhere in the world.
When statements such as “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized,” and women should not “place themselves in vulnerable situations,” are uttered by individuals in leadership positions, it becomes quite evident how deeply our society believes that women are responsible for having been sexually assaulted and not the real criminals, the rapists.
How many times after a sexual assault occurs have we heard the question “What was she wearing?” “Was she walking alone in the dark?” “Was she partying?” “Was she drinking?” We are asking the wrong questions!
On May 15, 2011 join WAVAW at the SlutWalk and take a stand against victim blaming. Join us at 1:00pm at the Vancouver Art Gallery where WAVAW will be speaking prior to the march and then march with us down the Granville strip.
SlutWalk began in Toronto, but has since inspired people all over the world to put an end to victim blaming: Cop’s Rape Comment Sparks wave of “SlutWalks” on www.msnbc.com”