The Amber Rose Slut Walk Takes Slut Shaming by the Balls

The ingenuity of the Slut Walk can only be grasped when contemplating its birth. Four years ago, while addressing the issue of campus rape at a York University safety forum at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, a police constable declared that women should “avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Co-founder Heather Jarvis said yesterday at the Los Angeles Amber Rose-hosted Slut Walk that “we’d had enough.” Jarvis explained that they stole the word “slut” from the police officer and all the other people in the world who use it to shame women. “We are going to talk about this language because it’s the language that’s keeping us down.”

The premise of the Slut Walk is to challenge the societal stigma that blames a rape victim’s clothing instead of looking to the predators themselves; a culture that assumes that “she was asking for it” if a girl dresses “slutty” and then is raped. Their website states:

“We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.”

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source: hercampus.com

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source: hannamade.wordpress.com

A key conversation at the panel yesterday was: When it’s known that women who live in Islamic countries and are covered head to toe also get raped, why are we always asking what the victim was wearing? What about what the rapist was wearing? Shouldn’t it be more important that we keep an eye out for their dress code so that we can know that that’s someone to avoid? And shouldn’t that person have another person with them at all times to keep them in check and prevent any more rape?? “We need to teach people how not to rape, not how not to get raped,” one of the panelists said.

Actor Matt McGory (OITNB, How to Get Away) was on the panel and admitted that he only learned the true meaning of feminism nine months ago: “gender equality”. “We need people like me, the people who were historically the oppressors. We need to speak about these things because we have the privilege to talk about them,” he said of his “privileged, white, heterosexual, cisgender” community.

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source: avoiceformen.com

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source: wildcat.arizona.edu

Hundreds of women, mostly in their 20s and 30s, attended the event in Downtown LA yesterday dressed in lingerie and “slutty” costumes, and held powerful banners that read: “My pussy, my choice,” “There’s no dress-code for rape,” “No is not maybe,” “No means no,” Still not asking for it,” and “Men of quality respect equality.”

While this year’s LA Slut Walk was hosted by the model and entrepreneur Amber Rose—providing the event with ample press and exposure—the first Walk took place four years ago in Toronto. It’s now a transnational event, having taking cities all over America by storm as well as in the UK, Switzerland, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia (it was renamed “Marcha das Vadias” for Spanish speakers), South Korea, India, and Singapore.

“We want police services to truly get behind the idea that victim-blaming, slut-shaming, and sexual profiling are never acceptable.[…] The idea that a slut is a lesser person and deserving of sexual assault isn’t exclusive to the police. Media also has to get behind this idea,” co-founder Sonya Barnett explained.

While such a momentous transnational walk for women’s justice and sexual dignity suggests real progress, it also sends a definitive message: we girls have had enough.

Feature image courtesy of vh1.com

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