Slut Walk Delhi: Because There Are Times When You Have To Stand Up And Protest

Posted on July 6, 2011 in Society

By Tanushree Krishna:

Sally Kempton once said, “Men define intelligence, men define usefulness, men tell us what is beautiful, and men even tell us what is womanly.” This attitude of men to control every aspect of a woman’s personality and life is not new. And it is one such sexist comment of a man that gave rise to this interesting concept of the Slut Walk.

The first slut walk took place in Toronto, Canada on 3rd April, 2011 in response to advice from a local cop to a group of students on personal safety. Michael Sanguinetti, the police officer, suggested that in order ‘not’ to be victimized woman should avoid dressing up like sluts. This misogynistic comment made by the local police officer was followed by intense media scrutiny leading to the uprising of an international movement which gathered a huge mass of people protesting against the belief that any aspect of woman’s appearance might excuse or explain rape. Over 3000 people marched in Toronto screaming aloud the message “Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no.”

Yes, the cop could have meant it as a mere suggestion rather than blame, believing that women who dress up provocatively were bigger targets for assault than women who don’t dress up in that same manner. The word ‘slut’ used by the police officer is also strongly debatable. The word has a redundant meaning which refers to a woman of slovenly habits or appearance. It was often used to refer to the kitchen maid, to the corner she left unswept as slut corner and the fluff collected under the furniture as slut ball.

However, I believe a person who wants to rape a woman will do so irrespective of her appearance or attire. If not so, then women would have been raped on strip clubs stages or beaches, where they are almost or entirely naked. The way a woman dresses should not be an excuse for sexual violence against her.

It has been a frequent practice in our society to blame the rape victims for having invited or attracted the rapist to inflict sexual violence upon them. Other common arguments include that if a woman has been drinking or has flirted with the rapist; the subsequent attack is the result of her own actions and is to be expected. Such arguments are silly and inspire scornful pity. This is like excusing the murderer of stabbing a person because he made him angry.

One should understand that Rape is never ok, even if she is a scantily clad woman, friend or girlfriend, even if she is drunk or even if she is a prostitute. It is all about ego, control and dominance rather than lipstick and miniskirt. By dictating a woman what she should wear, one is not only limiting her freedom to think and act independently, but is also reducing her to a state of fear, and is doing nothing to solve the actual problem of victim-blaming and rape. Thus, rape cases are on a rise and the rapists are seen roaming free without any sense of guilt.

The idea of slut walk is a very fresh approach, which does not demand the use of scanty clothing but instead aims at proving the point that rapists are not animals waiting to pounce upon ‘women dressed like sluts’, as evidence by the fact that, you can participate in these walks, scantily dressed and still not get raped.

In the slut walk that happened in Toronto, some women dressed up in clothing usually dismissed as slutty, some carried placards and banners and some participated to raise money for woman charities. But what is important is the serious issue that these women have put forth in front of the world, issue regarding the freedom of women and the attitude of people towards rape. Slut walks have forced people to think and rethink about their opprobrious ideas. The new generation is simultaneously fighting back with ideas that on a much higher note are informed by all kinds of traditions and influenced by equality and rationality.

The Slut Walk in India is scheduled in New Delhi, end of July, 2011. Be there if you believe in the cause!

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Adeena Jamal

” It is all about ego, control and dominance rather than lipstick and miniskirt” Excellent line! very well written write up.

    Aditya

    completely agree with this line….

Aditya

I have a few doubts…
1) you said that if you believe in the cause then be there. I agree with the cause but the action taken “slut walk” is totally wrong
2)how many people in India even know the meaning of slut? don’t you think that this slut walk will cause more harm by making the word slut known to people.
3) Slut walk is directly copied from west. There is an adage in hindi “Nakal ke liye bhi akal ki jarorat hoti hai”. Don’t you think, in a nation, where women is still respected by the majority of people, this will harm integrity of those people. I mean, in India we don’t have culture like in US.
4)See crime is a crime, it doesn’t matters that whether it is against a women or against men. It is said that a criminal doesn’t have any religion, caste or sex. then why in this case sex of the criminal is so important. I know in max or may be in 100% cases it is men only, but still the major point is that IT is a criminal and ITS sexuality doesn’t matter.
5)don’t you think it will be better to march against the lack of action or failure of police, then to march against the comments of a police officer in CANADA .

    Ankur Garg

    totally agree with ur 5th point…

kaushik

as evidenced by the fact that, you can participate in these walks, scantily dressed and still not get raped
Really? When thousands of people including policemen are watching?

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