Calling Dallas Sluts, Slut-Allies, Prudes, Dudes, Etc: It’s Time to SlutWalk!

A scene from SlutWalk Toronto / VancouverSun.com

Perhaps the most recent, well-publicized incident of rape victim blaming happened right here in Texas, in Cleveland, after the repeated gang rape of an 11-year-old girl caused people to speculate in the New York Times that perhaps she dressed too grown-up, and therefore caused her rapists to attack her.

Sadly, it’s part of a long tradition wherein women are blamed for their own rapes because of the way they dressed, the way they talked, what they drank, where they walked. Victim blaming is common, and it’s institutionalized: back in January, a cop in Toronto told female college students that they could avoid getting raped by not “dressing like sluts.”

Which is preposterous. Because women dressing like sluts is not what causes rape. Rapists raping people is what causes rape. The women of Toronto knew and know that, which is why they launched the first-ever SlutWalk, a joyous fuck-you to victim blamers everywhere.

Tomorrow, SlutWalk goes global, and Plano resident Elizabeth Webb has made sure Dallas doesn’t get left out. She’s the organizer of the Dallas SlutWalk, which will take place from 1-3 p.m. at the JFK Memorial in downtown. I asked her to do a quick Q&A about the walk, and she kindly obliged.

What is SlutWalk Dallas? How would you explain it to the average person cruising through downtown on their way to brunch who spots SlutWalkers?

It’s a march to bring awareness to victim blaming in sexual assault cases. We’ve been told far too long that if we get raped; it’s our fault. We’ve had enough.

Why did you personally organize SlutWalk Dallas?

A few reasons. One reason was that April is Sexual Assault awareness month and I had been trying to figure out the most effective way to bring awareness when the Slutwalk popped up. Another reason is because of what happened in Cleavland, TX recently. That has certainly shown me and the rest of America that victim blaming is still alive and well today. As for the strongest reason behind me organizing this walk; I’m a survivor and I feel very close to the issue.

What can SlutWalkers expect at the walk? What should they bring? How should they dress? What’s the atmosphere going to be like?

Slutwalkers can expect to walk, shout, sing, and have a great time fighting for rape survivors. They should bring their friends and family as well as any signs they want to make and strong voices. They should dress in whatever they’re comfortable in. If they want to wear pajamas, that’s fine. If they want to get dressed up like they’re going out, that’s fine too. Anything (within the law) is fine. I believe the atmosphere is going to be very excited, empowering, safe and loving.

What do you hope people take away from SlutWalk?

A change of mindset. Our society teaches “Don’t get raped” when we should be teaching “Don’t rape.” We need to be preventing rape from the source. It is never the victim’s fault. Period.🙂

About andrea grimes

Andrea is a journalist living in Austin, TX. She has a master's degree in anthropology and did her thesis work on gender and stand-up comedy. Seriously. Also, she has a bunch of cats. Three of them. Is three a bunch? Discuss.
This entry was posted in activism, Dallas, feminism, media, rape culture, sexual assault. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Calling Dallas Sluts, Slut-Allies, Prudes, Dudes, Etc: It’s Time to SlutWalk!

  1. juliesunday says:

    also relevant to dallas slutwalk: dallas’ own police chief encouraging women to prevent rape by not drinking on dates and not going on dates alone. hope to see you in austin in june! http://howtohavesexintexas.blogspot.com/2011/04/slutwalk-austin-totally-asking-for-it.html

      • Quentin says:

        Actually he has a point in protecting yourself but I wonder, how many find the concept of date rape a serious issue? As someone who has been accused of sex crimes, I found out rapidly that even if she was more sober and had initiated the sex, the next day she was able to claim rape. Somehow her drinking meant she was unable to provide consent yet a man drinking is no excuse.

        No women who are raped shouldn’t be blamed but have you ever marched against women who make false accusations or to help protest that minor forced to pay child support to a teacher or other adult who molested him before he was even 14? Maybe these things should be brought up and addressed at the various walks since people refuse to march on them alone for some reason.

  2. joereform says:

    This is perhaps the most irresponsible post I have ever read from you, Andrea. What a complete lack of discernment you exhibit.

    Is rape the “fault” of the victim? Absolutely not. Nothing justifies rape.

    That is not the same thing as saying that women can take reasonable action to make sure that they themselves are not the victims of rape.

    If I go flashing large amounts of cash around the gang-infested areas of South Oak Cliff and I get mugged, does that make the mugger any less guilty for mugging me? Of course not. Would I be an idiot for not taking reasonable precautions in what I know to be a dangerous situation? Absolutely.

    There are two narratives at play here, Andrea, and you and the misguided individuals who support “Slut Walks” make the mistake of trying to substitute one narrative for another. The one narrative we can agree on is that rape is solely the fault of the rapist. However, you are sending the false message that nothing a woman does makes her a more likely target of the crime of rape.

    The other narrative is that rape is very often a “crime of opportunity.” While law enforcement officers can be idiots about the way they word things, their goal is to prevent crime as much as it is to apprehend criminals. The SlutWalk’s message of “act however you want” is ridiculously naive, because there are most definitely ways to minimize your chances of getting raped (and please try to refrain from painting silly scenarios like staying locked up at home in a burqua — we are both grown-ups here and we know there is a huge gamut between living in a convent and acting irresponsibly à la Natalee Holloway).

    This kind of thing does seem so very empowering to the “let’s imagine the world were different so it will be so” mindset, but it doesn’t help the drunken college freshman who leaves a group of her friends to get into a pickup with a group of men she has never even met before. It doesn’t help the drunken twenty-something who is walking down an isolated road alone late at night and gets into a van with an acquaintance who happens by. Both of those situations happened to women I know. In one of them, the woman was raped. The rapist was completely culpable for the crime. In both of those situations, though, the woman was guilty of something, and that was incredibly poor judgment.

    • Quentin says:

      Well put Joe! Also do not forget the very serious problem with gender discrimination in “rape” laws and treatment. If a couple goes out and they have a few drinks, even if she is the one who initiates sex and he is more inebriated than her, she can still claim “date rape” and because she had been drinking he can be charged and convicted. Meanwhile these same groups who protest cases like this are totally silent when boys have been ordered to pay child support to women who molest or rape them after giving them alcohol or drugs.

      So why is saying that you should take some RESPONSIBILITY for things if you invite them unacceptable for women but if you mention the above issues, you will find the same people are fast to tell us that these males should be responisible for their actions? We hold a 12-year-old boy more responsible for being molested than an adult woman who gets drunk on a date and INITIATES sex. The same with parents in situations that most would think are unbelievable. My own case shows this is an insane system. After trying to report abuse of my kids, they REFUSED to investigate because she would just claim I was molesting our daughter and would ONLY want to look at that. After she attempted suicide after years of being litterally pimped out by her mother, I finally managed to get custody and provide a safe place for my children. The same investigators who before had refused to inviestigate then blamed ME for not trying to report it. Now attempting to report it only had gotten threats before to have me arrested and charged with false reporting as well as my being investigated but when the truth became undeniable they threatened me again for FAILING to report!

      Now, do things like this make the news? Nope, you can try but it will never get in the news and you can dang well bet that the same people outraged and working on this Slut Walk will not come help protest or act against these agencies who act strictly in the interests of mothers and willingly ignore abuse of children, to include rape, because they only wish to hold men responsible.

      Try this ladies, have a male friend call the local shelter and ask for help getting away from an abusive spouse and then try calling yourself and see the difference in how you are treated. While they will take a woman with no kids and the abilty to get away with no help in a heatbeat, they will likly tell him the same things they did me. Laugh, ask what he did to “deserve” being abused and tell him to just “leave” and that the kids who are being abused by their mother will be safe and OK with her.

      Until groups that keep organizing activities like this are willing to look at the outrageous bias and severe abuse children and men receive, you get little to no sympathy from the huge number of men like me. You can’t have it both ways where you have all the resources, all the rights and ZERO responsibilities. Being upset that someone even SUGGESTS you should take any responsibility for your actions and then screaming those who are abused, molested and raped HAVE to be responsibile if they are male shows just how insane your bias and beliefs have gotten as well as that anymore it may be a hatred of males instead of any actual problem that needs addressed on which you are willing to act.

    • Tegan says:

      You’re an idiot, Joe.

      It is the responsibility of every individual to not rape. It is not my responsibility to make sure you don’t forcibly stick your dick in me. It is not my responsibility to monitor my drinking and my wardrobe to avoid your raping me.

      I don’t care if I am guzzling a bottle of vodka and strolling naked down the street. It is the SOLE RESPONSIBILITY of the INDIVIDUAL to NOT RAPE. It is NOT that difficult to not shove your genitals into someone else.

      Saying that I cannot do whatever I please because someone might rape me is just saying you do not believe you have the will power, education, or control to not rape.

      Rape is a controlled and purposeful act. The fact is I could go out or stay in or wear a ski jacket or a bikini and the rapist would still rape me because society and you, Joe, will let him. By saying that there are opportunities NOT to be raped, you are saying that rape is dependent on my actions.

      Think, next time, before you spout off your man-splaining, victim-blaming bullshit. No matter what actions people take, it is ALWAYS the individual’s responsibility to not rape, and no one else’s responsibility. Poor judgment does NOT justify another person’s actions.

      • Quentin says:

        Tegan, I notice you dodged the points of many like I make. Why is it the RESPONSIBILITY of males who are raped and molested? If you dress nice to gain attention, why are MEN responsible to figure out if even a nice and polite compliment is what you want without his risking a charge or lawsuit? Why are MEN responsible for their actions involving sex when drunk but women are not?

        As you say, FORCIBLE rape it is never her fault but even asking she mitigate her own behaviors and actions to be cautious seems more than you are willing to accept. SO are women unable to be adults and responsible for THEIR actions and doing anything to ensure their own safety and protection? Of so, then aren’t you arguing that they should be treated like children as a result? Or should they have responsibilities to include when they rape, molest, make a bad sexual decision while drunk and etc just as men are required to do?

        You can’t have it both ways. All the freedom but none of the responsibility is something most understand they have to leave behind as young children. If you can not be responsible for your actions, then you should have none of the freedoms. If you run around naked and drunk at a party telling all the guys there to lay you, then sorry YOU are responsible for the results then just as all men are responsible if we are drunk and believe you are on birth control. Kind of like if you run up and hit a guy, sorry but hit knocking you on your ass after is your own fault and it is not HIS responsibly to take being a punching bag just because you are mad or etc.

        This double standard you are pushing and supporting shows that while you scream about victim blaming and the rest, look in the mirror since I am sure you do more than your fair share of it.

  3. Rose says:

    As a matter of fact, no one said men should have fewer rights than women in rape or assault cases.
    What is being said is that it shouldn’t have to be the responsibility of a woman – or anyone in fact – not to get raped. It SHOULD be the responsibility of everyone who sees that person to somehow manage not to rape or assault them.
    I would equate the logic that says “it wouldn’t be their fault, but they knew they took that risk” to the spouse beater that says “Well, if she wouldn’t have nagged me, I wouldn’t have beaten her” or “If he would have brought home the drycleaning, we wouldn’t have this problem.”
    In fact, in both these cases, the victim’s actions were not in fact what caused the issue, and probably nothing the victim did could have prevented it. Allowing society to use the perpetrator’s logic – that the victim was “asking for it” with behaviors they knew were “risky” – makes for a culture where one half of the population has to follow a set of restrictive behaviors in order to avoid triggering the other half, and live in fear that someone will hurt them anyway. The argument of SlutWalk is that’s no way to live. The logic we can probably all agree on is that no matter what, it is everyone’s responsibility to avoid committing crimes. You don’t get to drunkenly rob a house and say “hey, the door was open and I was drunk, how was I supposed to stop myself?” and you don’t get to say “hey, I was drunk and their clothes were saying something their mouth wasn’t,” or even “she said stop, but we were both drunk and hey, she inititated it.”

    • Quentin says:

      Rose, under law men DO have fewer rights in rape cases. We hold males who are raped and molested responsible for child support if she gets pregnant. we have the issue of her being drunk means she can’t give proper consent but his being drunk is no excuse. Same goes for a male who actually tries to report a sex crime.

      I will explain from my experience first hand on this. My ex used to wake me up by being on top of me in the mornings. I have a low drive due to a medical mistake which makes sex painful. When I got tired of her repeated affairs and divorced, she claimed I was raping her. They went after me with full force of the law but flat laughed and refused to investigate my claims of being a victim when her own friends were there to give statements on her bragging about raping me because she was going to “get her’s” whether I liked it or not. Telling her no and etc made no difference. even my medical condition making sex painful was not to be considered by them, only that she had claimed I was a rapist and I should be jailed.

      The same goes for the sexual abuse of my children. She covered up her abuse by making claims constantly I was sexually abusing them. It made no difference I had evidence of her abusing them, the children saying I didn’t do it and even them naming others! The police, CPS and the local Woman’s Shelter had one target, the male.

      It is amazing that this much effort can be put to protesting someone saying something politically incorrect but honest at least in helping prevent someone from being a victim but you will then see just as much effort and more to excuse women who abuse males with things like she is in need to mental health help and even blaming 14 year old boys for their 30 something molesters.

      Now, honestly, what is the more important issue and a bigger problem? What this officer states or what courts and police have done to throw innocent men in jail under a set of double standards in the definition of rape or the laws demanding male victims of sex crimes pay their abusers if she becomes pregnant? Does what this cop say actually hurt anyone? What about those in jail under a BS charge or forced to pay support through what should be the best part of their life to someone that if the genders were reversed would be called a vial rapist of the lowest degree?

  4. Rose says:

    The general response would have to be that both problems stem from an unhealthy way of viewing rape overall in our society. I don’t want to find myself in court with some defense lawyer holding up my skirt as evidence to acquit my rapist, just like I don’t want my brother to fall victim to some judge’s white knight syndrome.
    The question in a rape case needs to be solely – did one person have sex with another against their will?
    Any fight that furthers that goal is one worth fighting, whether it means changing antiquated laws that don’t take women raping men into account or challenging the flawed and dangerous logic of well-meaning police officers.
    I also disagree that these statements were “politically incorrect but honest at least in helping prevent someone from being a victim.” I’m sure the officers who say these things are well-meaning, but the message implicit in such warnings is there is something you can do to prevent your own rape. If that’s the case, then if you get raped, it must be because you didn’t follow the prevention steps well enough. I’m sure the danger in that logic isn’t hard to see. Allowing the first thought legitimacy automatically opens the door to the second, which is why you do see rape victims’ clothing admitted as evidence in rape cases.

    • Quentin says:

      Rose, the reason I would say his statement was politically incorrect but appropriate is that his words in not dressing a specific way are meant to not draw attention to yourself. No different than if you don’t want robbed, don’t wave a bunch of money around for everyone to see. Now if he said it was her fault for it, then I would agree but his suggestion to help reduce the risks is appropriate.

      Think also on the mixed signals many women send out. In NYC they made it a crime to make an unwanted compliment to a woman. So it is up to her if she wants that guy or a different one to say she looks good or etc. Somehow they have decided men should be able to read the minds of women on who she wants to impress and who she wants to blow off and if he can’t, it is a crime.

      Now, I also fully agree on the unwanted sex as the determining factor. This is one reason I am sick of the “date rape” BS. In an honest case where she stated no in a determined fashion, it is rape. The problem is I have seen all too often that she was interested in sex the night before but changed her mind the next morning and cried “rape” saying she couldn’t properly consent after a couple of drinks. Sorry, but unless she was passed out, I don’t buy it since a male who is equally drunk is told alcohol is no excuse. As for my “determined” remark, my ex used to get PISSED if she said “no” and I said, “ok” without pursuing anything. Of course later my actually pursuing any hard was pushed as my “raping” her while her waking me up by riding me was laughed off.

      For me it is really no different than pregnancy. If he fails to use birth control, he isn’t taking a responsible precaution. But our system says no matter what, even if she lied, he was not legally old enough to consent or even in rape he MUST be responsible for any children that result. When men bring up that this has some serious problems since she can abort, adopt out or just deny him access to the child with no real recourse. Usually the response is he should have kept it in his pants but it totally ignores that the courts have ruled men who are raped are still responsible and even if she steals the condom from the trash. By law, it makes ZERO difference how she got his sperm, HE is responsible for her getting it and the children that result.

      In the end, people are upset at even the suggestion a woman should take even minor responsibility for her own safety but we don’t even hold women responsible for raping males. Either women are responsible like we demand men be, or they are not responsible and should we then look at if they should have equal rights? Shouldn’t those we hold responsible have rights instead of declaring various groups have responsibilities but no rights int he matters?

      I would suggest looking up the article “Its 10 o’clock, do you know where your sperm are?” to see just how insane the system is on matters of paternity. Also you may want to look up paternity fraud and how it is actually ENFORCED by the state who will actively fight the victims to protect the perpetrators and the disparities in how men who have tried to report rape or boys who are molested by women are treated. Anymore, males are rapidly becoming a second class of citizens to be punished for even consensual sex if she changes her mind AFTER and otherwise only allowed to be a check to support children at the whim of women with no real rights beyond working and going to jail if they fail to pay.

      I would say these are much more serious problems than an officer stating to women that dressing in a manner intended to draw attention to themselves are putting themselves at a greater risk.

  5. drillsarge says:

    I think both sides of this argument so far are as disgusting as each other. Men get raped too by women and men. Not all men are sexual pressure cookers ready to explode any second??? Women arent supposed to get raped just cos” they are asking for it” Blaaaaaah. I think anyone who risks getting totally off their brain on vodka/ecstacy/ heroin or whatever it is they choose to wipe out on. They are taking a big risk if they are left alone without a friend to look after them.

    Even sillier if they decide to take a guy/girl back to their place in this state not knowing what kind of impression they are giving their guest no matter what sex they are

    My take is, if you are willing to get too out of control to know what the f you are doing when you bring a stranger back to your home alone, after you have been kissing and gave he/she the invite. Well then I find it hard for anyone to cry rape unless there was violence involved that left the victim bruised/scratched or ruffed up physically

    It has happened to me what would now be called date rape but it was just i accepted way to many drugs off the “perp” and I ended up regretting every minute of what happened which I really wished I could have kicked this asshole out. But i couldnt. But I blamed myself every bit as much as the perp for taking all his booze and drugs and bringing back to my home. You dig??

  6. Quentin says:

    Well put drillsarg! On an interesting note, why are there not protests going on with the following story?

    http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/daily-take/201105/no-shirt-no-service-high-school-coach-jobless-after-his-boys-track-team-goes-

    So women should be allowed to walk naked down the street drunk with a fifth of Jack but how DARE a boy risk offending girls by taking off his shirt while in practice for cross-country running on a warm dare. Offending girls is wrong, he must be a predator and even because he is in to a sport and took off his shirt so must be punished as well as the coach that didn’t tear him up. But hey, if a woman gets drunk and walks down the street naked, even suggesting things like that increase your risks of “rape” is outrageous and deserves an international protest movement?

    BTW, the reason I put “rape” in quotes anymore is the definition has grown so mush as to include most any kind of sex where she just decides at some point she didn’t want to have it, to include years later.

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