Downtown Last Weekend, SlutWalk Urges End to Victim-Blaming Culture Surrounding Rape

Categories: Events, News
Slutwalk1.jpg
Photos by Patrick Michels
About a hundred women and men rallied up at the JFK Memorial Plaza over the weekend for Dallas's very own SlutWalk, a stroll through downtown to fight the popular notion that it's fair to blame a woman for anything from cat-calls to sexual assault based on how she's dressed.

In tank tops, bras, fishnets and heels -- but mostly T-shirts and jeans -- the crowd made its point for passing drivers with signs like, "Blame the system, not the victim," and, more to the point, "Proud slut."

Back at the plaza, speakers took turns at a megaphone to urge a change in a culture that blames victims for their rape because of how they're dressed, because they'd been drinking or because of some other aspect of their lifestyle. Some told personal stories about how they'd been judged after being raped. Others told the crowd to watch out for the more common, public ways women are judged for how they're dressed. "If you hear somebody slut-shaming, you call them on it," said Jeffrey Lawson, speaking in high-heeled boots, a miniskirt and a purple corset.

Another woman said the day's message was especially important to her because of her job. "There's a lot of us that work in an industry that's sexual in nature," she said. "Just because you take your clothes off for money, doesn't invite sexual assault."

"I think that's the real discourse that we're taught growing up, that women are objects," said Elizabeth Webb, who organized the event -- and who gets a lengthy mention in the Huffington Post's look at SlutWalks nationwide. Webb said it's a particularly important time to raise this issue here, following the serial gang-rape of an 11-year-old girl in Cleveland, Texas, and the victim-blaming attitudes that surfaced in media coverage of the crime.

The run on SlutWalks -- there's one coming up in Austin in June, Webb said -- began in Canada, after a Toronto cop gave some law school students a little of his own safety philosophy: "Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized," which probably sounded less condescending in the original French.

Here in Dallas last fall, you'll recall, DPD Chief David Brown pinned a 25 percent uptick in rape stats on increasing date rape, and said the answer was an "awareness education campaign" about not getting raped after you've been drinking. (Now, it looks more like better reporting of rape cases is what's really behind that increase.)

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Slutwalk_ElizabethWebb.jpg
Elizabeth Webb, who organized the event.

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78 comments
MY BODY IS NOT AN INSULT
MY BODY IS NOT AN INSULT

I don't see why people seem to think they can argue in favour of victim blaming. DON'T RAPE PEOPLE. I don't care what she's wearing. If you rape someone, it is your fault for actually raping them. It is not their fault for wearing something you liked looking at, it is not their fault for ANY REASON. DON'T RAPE PEOPLE. 

David J McDonell
David J McDonell

A way a person is dress is NO EXCUSE TO RAPE but I want to bring something just as bad the DORKS out there when people judge you because want to date a DORK I been label that in my teen years and actually thought about killing myself back then when I had NO friends maybe we need a DORK WALK if we all start really caring about people these things should not happen. Stop using sex as a weapon by forcing it on someone or labeling people as DORK not deserving it both are wrong.

CR
CR

I totally agree. The tank tops, bras, fishnets and heels are not the real issue. The real issue is how our society encourages people to drink to relax. Like it or not alcohol makes many people reckless and psychotic and it is by far the # 1 factor contributing to rape and other violence. Until you address that, very little progress will be made in reducing rape and other violence. It's like talking about radiation poisoning in Japan but not mentioning the nuclear reactor.

Tylerhollyfield
Tylerhollyfield

how about you all just stop being sluts? i have no respect for girls that take their clothes off for money..

Reality
Reality

"There's a lot of us that work in an industry that's sexual in nature," she said. "Just because you take your clothes off for money, doesn't invite sexual assault."

-Umm sweetie, I hate to break it to you, but that's exactly what it does. Use your brain and put on some clothes.

Non Slut Land
Non Slut Land

If these chicks would stop dressing like sluts people would stop treating them like sluts, end of story.

20/10 vision
20/10 vision

Looks like the only thing that was getting raped at the Slutwalk was a bucket of KFC.

bevoer
bevoer

Youtube Chris Rock and the punch line "but you're wearing a ho's uniform"

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Ladies the harsh reality is what you wear really has nothing to do with you being attacked or not.It is what is inside of the sicko Rapist mind that causes those events to happen.

Not a Slut
Not a Slut

What sort of woman wants to be called a "slut"?

stupidisasstupiddoes
stupidisasstupiddoes

I always hate these rape comments. First of all, rape is about control and violence, not sex. Dressing sexy isn't supposed to invite anger and the need to control someone else in the most humiliating way possible (i.e., rape).

So get it right, people! Is rape about being oversexed or is about being an insecure little control-freak with a tiny dick?

Erin Berger
Erin Berger

WTF, slutwalk, sounds like a perfect place to rape!

Nectoxicdragon
Nectoxicdragon

The simple fact is if you set yourself up to be a victim YOU WILL BE A VICTIM. Act to protect yourself and you wont have to worry about being blamed for someone elses actions.

Sergio
Sergio

Honestly I think sexual assault and what someone wears are completely unrelated.

I think there are very many guys who, when they see a beautiful woman in the new short-short-shorts and a tight tanktop and flip flops, obviously get aroused. Thoughts that occur, 'damn, I have to get her number', 'You gotta love Texas summers', 'What I wouldn't give for her in my bed every night', and often even 'I'll remember that for later tonight after Jeopardy'. You have to expect people to think that(even the last one) when you're wearing a revealing top and those God-given miniskirts. You also have to expect to attract all kinds of men, from Danny Devito to Fabio, and all of them are going to want your number if you look as gorgeous as you think. if you want to attract a bunch of men, then so be it.....but when you decide to settle with one in a relationship of some sort you should really only have sex with whoever you're currently dating. If you decide to get with all of the guys and if that's what you want, then yes you are by definition somebody who has sexual relations with numerous partners; a slut.

What nobody should expect is to be sexually assaulted. Rape has absolutely nothing to do with what you are wearing, whether it's stained sweats or a yard-long string of silk tied around you. Anybody that sees a human, no matter what they are wearing, their skin color, their religion, their gender, and thinks 'I want to cause that person pain and I want to force them to do something that I know will scar them for life' is a menace to society, and should be locked away in a mental facility if not worse.

Pretty girls are going to look pretty. Guys are going to look at pretty girls, and, maybe, get their numbers or just hook up with them then never see them again...in which case that would be kind of slutty but that's besides the point.If somebody is raped, it is because the other person is sick, NOT because of what the victim is wearing.

Stuff naive white people like
Stuff naive white people like

"Stuff White People Like" - type affluent whites with way too much free time. Think this slutwalk will actually prevent any rapes?

cnc1019
cnc1019

When a female is sexually attacked I don't place any blame on the female for choosing to dress a certain way as no one forced the attacker to cross the line but themselves.

However, as a society are we that blind to the idea that not everyone acts lawfully at all times? If we understand that humans are fallable and not all have the same moral or ethical structure as ourselves, we would try harder to avoid putting ourselves in situations that can make us vulnerable to the actions of the criminals in our society.

We do not cause others to act inappropriately, but our choices and increase our odds of avoiding those people. There are neighborhoods that I choose to not walk around in at night, not because it is against the law, but because it exposes me to a higher level of risk than I wish to take on. It wouldn't be wrong of me to take a stroll there and if something happened to me, the blame would be on the person who wronged me, but that wouldn't change what happened to me.

To most the argument is about placing blame on the victim, it is about asking the victim to be smart with their decisions and take precautions when you choose to do something that increases your risk level.

ben dover
ben dover

you are completely right! hey, wanna do some speedballs??

Anarchistbarbie
Anarchistbarbie

 So what? Why do you think anyone at all gives a tinker's damn about your narrow view? Something about you that makes you right? It seems doubtful.

Evan
Evan

and your respect is the litmus test for whether someone should be raped or not.

Anarchistbarbie
Anarchistbarbie

Wow. Ugly. Are you also one of the many American men using porn freely in secret and lying about it while supporting legislation to stop other people from accessing it? LOL I'll bet you are. Enjoy your shame. 

beau2am
beau2am

Good point. -Every time I go to the local strip club and see an attractive women trying to make some money, I instantly know she wants me to force her to have sex with me. It's a clear invitation. I can almost hear her screaming, "PLEASE, ASSAULT ME!" /sarcasm

I resent you for using the words, "Umm sweetie". Fuck you.

Anarchistbarbie
Anarchistbarbie

LMAO. Did you actually just say that? Can you actually define 'slut' in some accurate way that doesn't demonstrate your anti-woman sex-negative bias? Is there some reason women shouldn't wear what they favor? Are they somehow less entitled to be safe in their nation from criminal assaults than men are? (Is the secret reason hot young twinkie studs don't wear little white tennis skirts that they don't want to be raped?)

How would YOU like to live in a world where you are denigrated by the actual language your nations speaks and the way the laws are written? Told from the time you are a child that your choice to be free and in control of your will and sexual decision making is less acceptable than a man's?

Think before you speak. You'll look smarter. 

Consenting Adult
Consenting Adult

A slut is someone who is of age and has consensual sex with any consenting person they'd like to, who is above the age of consent, regardless of the standards of her society. A slut is not someone who deserves to get raped. No one deserves to get raped. Clothes cannot cause or prevent rape. Only people can prevent rape.

ben dover
ben dover

you just leave salvia out of this right now!!

blunt
blunt

she had to go prep for the role of mccartney in beatlemania...

beau2am
beau2am

The women at the slutwalk do, obviously. Do you have any other sex positive words for women?/Men have Stud, pimp, The Man, ect...What do women have? Nothing. These women are reclaiming Slut as a positive term for women.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

I like the list I think the list is correct .However if the list should tell us any thing its the many ways Rapist can find a way to get close enough to women to commit the Act .

And more to the point of how all women can help protect their own selves .RAPE is RAPE no question. The RAPIST is always the one who is the guilty no question

The last line of defense against a RAPIST sometimes the woman themselves .

http://explorenikaya.com/hot-g...

Knowing what we know from the list

How much protection if any do any of think these young ladies are providing for themselves from assault ?

Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts

Absolutely idiotic. With any other crime at all, would you settle for crime prevention that solely takes the form of telling the criminal not to commit the act.

I think I am going to petition Wal-mart to take down all those "Lock-Take-Hide" signs in the parking lot. Why should I have to take responsibility for making sure I don't become a victim of theft? They should replace every one of those signs with ones that read "Thou shalt not steal," so that I don't get blamed for leaving my iPad on the dashboard of my unlocked vehicle.

Wendy McKenzie
Wendy McKenzie

That was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. This should be handed out in public.

Evan
Evan

I hate these comments because 90% are missing the point - this is not about the cause of rape, but rather the effect - women who are sexually assualted are typically victimized twice, once by the attacker, and once by attacks from defense lawyers and Joe Public who calls her a slut who merely got what she was asking for. The protest was about that second victimization, not about getting together over the weekend to talk about how we all dislike rape.

charmed, i'm sure
charmed, i'm sure

erin? that's definitely a chick's name, so erin, if and when you do get a cell w/tyrone or bubba, definitely DO NOT tell them your real name.. just sayin'

Consenting Adult
Consenting Adult

Erin Berger, sounds like a perfect name for someone who's willfully ignorant!

Anarchistbarbie
Anarchistbarbie

 Being a victim has not one thing to do with attire.

natalie j
natalie j

I think this is a comment made about a lot of grassroots movements and it only stands to harm the movement and what the movement is working towards. Do I think one walk with 100 people is going to change a rapists mind? Not necessarily nor directly. But I DO believe that mobilizing and organizing mass groups of people that are SICK of the injustice and REPULSED by the violence and misogyny that perpetrates every aspect of our lives is a start because it brings the issue to the forefront and forces our politicians and other authority figures to face the issue head on. The People bring about change - mass movements and grassroots organizing are the basis of social change and revolution.

To say that it's a "affluent white" issue is also very innacurate. "Although most rapes are intra-racial (the occur within racial groups), women of color are especially vulnerable victims of sexual violence because of their marginalized status. They also have less credibility in the courtroom when rape cases have gone to trial. Men of color accused of rape are more likely to get media attention, are more likely to get convicted, and receive longer sentences." "Women of all races and classes are battered, although rates are 5 times higher among families below poverty levels, and severe spouse abuse is twice as likely to be committed by unemployed men as by those working full time. These differences reflect economic vulnerability and lack of resources, as well as the ways these families have more contact with authorities like social services that increases opportunities for reporting." -Susan Shaw and Janet Lee in Women's Voices Feminist Visions.

ben dover
ben dover

you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around, that's what it's all about..

wascallywabbit
wascallywabbit

Very nicely said. The PCers though will be not see that. When you see reality ideologically instead of concretely, you tend to put not only yours, but naive folks too, in harms way.

Lyahdan
Lyahdan

Y'know, the fact that statistics don't bear out this strange theory going around that dressing sexy = higher rape risk never seems to cut the number of people making this argument.

If just as many women are raped in sweats as in miniskirts, how is avoiding miniskirts 'taking precautions?' And how is telling women to avoid wearing miniskirts at all useful? Oh wait, it's not.

Men are the victims of physically violent crimes more often than women, and yet there is no mass movement to tell them not to walk around certain areas at night, or be out alone, or having someone watching their backs at a bar, or not wear nice clothes that might hint to a mugger that they're well off. Why is that, do you think? I mean, if it's all about giving people the tools to take sensible precautions?

Father of Four
Father of Four

Stud - an animal fit only for breedingPimp - a guy who smacks women around and takes the money the get for having sexThe Man - Faceless power that keeps hard working people down

None of those sound like good things to be to me.

Evan
Evan

Prevention is a good thing - negating the crime due to a lack of prevention is a bad thing. If any woman wearing a thong is not practicing good rape prevention, then anyone with an aftermarket stereo (or an iPad, or a Playstation, or, given the example, any desirable good) is not practicing good theft prevention.

JS
JS

doing the hokey pokey is what got them protesting in the first place!*

note, in no way does this attempt at humor condone rape, attempted rape, rapists, or pedophiles.

cnc1019
cnc1019

I never said to avoid wearing miniskirts (I think I would die a little inside if miniskirts went the way of the dinosaurs). I won't comment on your statistics as I can't verify them myself (my google powers are failing me currently).

Anticipate what a potential rapist might look for (someone who is along or with one other person, intoxicated, generally unaware of their surroundings, etc.) and find ways to mitigate those risks (arriving and leaving in larger groups is probably the best option but another one to use along with that one is to drink in moderation).

I tend to avoid driving between 2am and 3am because because statistics show there are more drunk driving incidents during that hour than any other hour. That doesn't protect me from all instances of drunk driving (or possibly even the majority of drunk driving incidents) but it does help me avoid some of them.

My argument can be summarized as this: people will fail at being decent human beings and understanding that, you should take ownership of your safety and not leave it up to others.

Ardy
Ardy

@missdk - thanks for the data. I'm assuming "rape" and "sexual assault" are two different things. Otherwise, the first two statistics seem to give conflicting information.

It still doesn't give us an indication of rape miniskirts vs rape sweat pants like Lyahdan stated.

cnc1019
cnc1019

This is in reply to missdk and her stats (for some reason it won't let me reply directly to him/her)...

My comments previously have been in regards to the 1/3 which admittedly will not all happen because of revealing attire or even provocative actions. Sometimes you are a random victim and this is not something that the victim will ever be able to adequately prepare to defend against. However, if you can do something as simple as being part of a group when you go out to reduce the chance of being a victim listed in that 1/3, then why wouldn't you?

I do not dispute the 2/3 statistic but I would be curious if they had more information about what makes up that number (i.e. how long have you known your attacker, did you consider yourself to know this person well, etc.). Again, not disputing the numbers, just curious if more detail would give people another tool to help prevent becoming a victim.

missdk
missdk

Approximately 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.28% are an intimate.7% are a relative.

More than 50% of all rape/sexual assault incidents were reported by victims to have occured within 1 mile of their home or at their home.

4 in 10 take place at the victim's home.2 in 10 take place at the home of a friend, neighbor, or relative.1 in 12 take place in a parking garage.

43% of rapes occur between 6:00pm and midnight.24% occur between midnight and 6:00am.The other 33% take place between 6:00am and 6:00pm.

http://www.rainn.org/

What do these statistics show you?

Ardy
Ardy

I'm interested in the stats as well. @Lyahdan - can you provide a link?

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