Sunday, May 15, 2011

Baggy clothes are not a bullet proof vest.

For those of you who (like me) have been busy with work and play, you may have missed the flurry of conversation and bloggy wonder around the concept of a “Slut Walk”
There are some great conversations around what it means to individuals, and how they plan to express their own understanding of the slut walk.
Here is mine.

I will be there, and I will be wearing a pair of baggy blue cotton pants and a matching top – a set of surgical scrubs.

My understanding of the slut walk is that Toronto Police constable Michael Sanguinetti made an ill thought out comment that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised”.
He has since apologised in writing for the comment but the fact of the matter is that the concept of a correlation between clothing/image and sexual assault is so deeply ingrained in our thought process that it didn’t even pause coming out of his mouth at a public speaking engagement in the line of duty.
This baffles me.
Most people (men and women) who are assaulted have to go through the questioning of what they did before and during an assault, and I understand the need to fully understand the crime scene so as to better bring justice.
This should always be done with respect and sensitivity.
I cannot comment on adult services, but in Auckland we have a wonderful unit for children, with specially trained nurses, safe places, soft toys, and a respect for the word ‘NO’ treatment and forensics takes as long the child needs to take.
Guilt on either side should not be played out in the media.
Who is a predator, vs. who is a prostitute on the weekends should not be a coffee group discussion by people with no knowledge of the case.
Assault and rape is not funny, and I cannot understand how people I respect have told rape “jokes” IN THE WORKPLACE.

The only reason these public conversations occur is because people do not realise how widespread assault and rape is, the assumption is still that it occurs solely to women, and certainly not women we know... good grief no!
It is those women, the ones with short skirts and night jobs... the sluts.

But it isn’t.
The people affected by sexual assault are your friends, your family, and the women you like and respect. The ballsey ones who don’t take shit from anyone.
And what they were wearing at the time is irrelevant.
A short skirt does not cause a good man to suddenly turn into a rapist.
Black eyeliner and voluptuous cleavage will not force a man into grabbing the aforementioned breasts.
My baggy scrubs will not protect me if a rapist decides that they need to dominate and hurt someone and I am there.

Clothing does not cause or prevent crime. And I LOVE that the slutwalk is starting these conversations.

For those who would like to join us in the slut walk please go to Slutwalk Aotearoha.

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