"Don't tell us what to wear. Tell men not to rape"
We've seen Slutwalks taking place in the past few months in cities around the world and surely it's only a matter of time before one is organised in Dublin. In a nutshell the message is one of female empowerment: women have the right to wear whatever they like. It all happened when a backlash arose against a Canadian police officer and his admonition that women should avoid dressing like sluts if they don't want to be raped.
Incredible. The outrage galvanised the whole Slutwalking movement into action.
Rape is the only crime where the victim is treated like a criminal. Where she is somehow seen to be "asking" for it if she wears clothes which don't cover her fully down to the ankles and up to the neckline. Where she must prove in a court of law that she was not in fact asking for it by her attire and her behaviour. A process which in itself is so brutal, invasive and harrowing to the victim that most cases of rape are not taken to trial
So women should forget their miniskirts and low cut tops just in case it's seen to be provoking men? That's obviously nonsense and the part of the Slutwalk movement I'm in total agreement with. After all 99.9% of men - normal men -know that No means No and rape is never ever ever excusable. But because of our cultural attitudes to rape it all gets very confused.
And here we come to the part that troubles me. Rapists are not normal men. They are vicious sex offenders and for them rape has got nothing to do with sex - it's about power and degradation. They don't care if women are dressed like nuns, wearing burka or are eighty years old. All of the former have been victims of violent rape of course.
Rape has got nothing to do with how women dress. But Slutwalking does highlight how the casual assumption that women are "asking for it" is pervasive and endemic and the main reason why rape is excused again and again. Leaving rapists free to rape again and again.
What do you think? Will you be joining the march if it goes ahead?
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