It’s an ugly word: slut. There’s really only one word that’s worse to call a woman. And today scads of women are gathering in London’s Victoria Park to show their opposition to the word and the bigger meaning for which it was recently used.
A Toronto police officer speaking to a group of law students recently said that women should avoid dressing like “sluts” if they don’t want to be victimized. The walk’s organizer put it this way. “We live in a society that teaches us how not to get raped, instead of ‘don’t rape’.”
The walk has polarized two important womens’ groups in the city. The Executive Director of the London Sexual Assault Centre will be at the walk while the Director of the London Abused Womens’ Centre is opposed, and launched her own campaign called Value Women. It’s a five-year campaign to shift focus to the positive rather than the negative.
The Slut Walk has attracted a lot of attention but in an over-the-top PETA kind of way. I agree that society blames women for sexual violence. Every time a rapist is on the loose women are reminded by police not to walk alone after dark and to lock windows and doors, as if our inattention is what’s causing these men to attack us. Instead, they should be telling citizens to watch for patterns in the behavior of the men they know based on the suspect’s description and details about the attacks. The focus is all wrong. But so is illuminating the unfortunate societal view by calling ourselves that awful word.
The Value Women campaign asks everyone to commit to value women and to champion five people for the cause. There’s nothing to sign. You aren’t tracked. It’s on the honour system. Just click the button on this page: http://lawc.on.ca/value-women-campaign/ All of the campaign details are there. It concentrates on the positive and moves us forward with hope and a united voice. A walk/rally won’t change the meaning of the word slut, and it won’t change the attitude of a sexist cop. Maybe promising to value women, will.