Written by Bwog Staff
A Toronto policeman’s advice that women could escape rape if they avoided “dressing like sluts” has sparked international protest. In nearly 80 cities around the world, women (and men) are stripping down to fight this prevailing view that victims are “asking for it.” However “slutty” they dress, women never invite their rapists. Today, the SlutWalk arrives in New York, and between the recent “rape cop” acquittal and DSK’s release, it’s pretty topical.
Of course, not all women are so eager to reclaim the word “slut.” In the NYTimes Magazine, Rebecca Traister endorses protesting these “ugly characterizations,” but argues, “to do so while dressed in what look like sexy stewardess Halloween costumes seems less like a victory than capitulation (linguistic and sartorial) to what society already expects of its young women.”
Still, there’s too much semantic gymnastics around the definition of rape. Whoopi Goldberg’s world includes something called “rape-rape,” which doesn’t involve Roman Polanski having sex with an unconscious 13- year old. Sure, this is an extreme example, but it’s important to remember that rape isn’t just the Law and Order-style stranger breaking and entering crime. Most victims know their assailants, and consent can seem unclear when you’re drunk to the point of incapacitation. The thing is, when it comes to the law, there’s no half-rape, rape-ish, or gray area. But too many college women have been sexually assaulted, and remain reluctant to label it what it is was.
One in four women is a victim of sexual assault. That statistic is horrifying. It means you definitely know someone who’s suffered. Please remember, Columbia offers valuable resources to help.
Counseling and Psychological Services (Columbia): 212-854-2878
Rosemary Furman Counseling Center (Barnard): 212-854-2092
Nightline Peer Counseling: 212-854-7777
Columbia Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center: 212-854-4357
And, as we’ve said before, don’t underestimate the compassion, even empathy, of your friends.
Today, thousands will march in the SlutWalk holding onto the firm belief that whatever they wear or drink, or however they act, women never have a right to be raped or blamed for it. The march begins at noon in Union Square. Columbia Women’s Organization will gather at 11am by the Broadway gates to head down.