last night, i was having a lovely dinner with my parents on a
perfect summer evening. we had a lot of good discussion on a
range of topics close to my heart, including the stupid uproar over the new hustler store
that is planned to open in my neighborhood. this led to a larger
discussion of pornography and the adult industry, which then led to a
discussion of agency in different areas of sex work.
i was telling my parents about different reasons it is important that
as a society we change our long standing perceptions of sex workers,
and why sex workers deserve the same legal rights and protections that
any other worker would have. i told them that one of the most
critical reasons why sex work needs to be legalized, is so that when a
sex worker is raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, they have the all
of the legal rights necessary to bring their attacker to justice.
this led to a discussion about victim blaming and the slutwalk.
if you don’t know what the slutwalk is, read the following excerpt from the website of slutwalk toronto, the original slutwalk:
on january 24th, 2011, a representative of the toronto police
gave shocking insight into the force’s view of sexual assault by
stating: “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”.
as the city’s major protective service, the toronto police have
perpetuated the myth and stereotype of ‘the slut’, and in doing so have
failed us. with sexual assault already a significantly under-reported
crime, survivors have now been given even less of a reason to go to the
police, for fear that they could be blamed. being assaulted isn’t about
what you wear; it’s not even about sex; but using a pejorative term to
rationalize inexcusable behaviour creates an environment in which it’s
okay to blame the victim.
historically, the term ‘slut’ has carried a predominantly
negative connotation. aimed at those who are sexually promiscuous, be it
for work or pleasure, it has primarily been women who have suffered
under the burden of this label. and whether dished out as a serious
indictment of one’s character or merely as a flippant insult, the intent
behind the word is always to wound, so we’re taking it back. “slut” is
we are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged
by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. being in charge of our
sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an
expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for
pleasure or work. no one should equate enjoying sex with attracting
we are a movement demanding that our voices be heard. we are here
to call foul on our police force and demand change. we want toronto
police services to take serious steps to regain our trust. we want to
feel that we will be respected and protected should we ever need them,
but more importantly be certain that those charged with our safety have a
true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault —
slut or otherwise.
we are tired of speeches filled with lip service and the
apologies that accompany them. what we want is meaningful dialogue and
we are doing something about it: WE ARE COMING TOGETHER. not only as
women, but as people from all gender expressions and orientations, all
walks of life, levels of employment and education, all races, ages,
abilities, and backgrounds, from all points of this city and elsewhere.
we are asking you to join us for slutwalk, to make a unified
statement about sexual assault and victims’ rights and to demand respect
for all. whether a fellow slut or simply an ally, you don’t have to wear your sexual proclivities on your sleeve,
we just ask that you come. any gender-identification, any age. singles,
couples, parents, sisters, brothers, children, friends. come walk or
roll or strut or holler or stomp with us.
i was delighted to find out last week that there is going to be a slutwalk in minneapolis on october 1st.
i encourage everyone who has ever questioned wearing a certain outfit
out of fear of getting cat called or assaulted to please, please, please
come to this event. the only way that we will stop rape culture
is by coming together and collectively stating that the bullshit of the
past is going to stop in the 21st century. we’re not going to take
it anymore. that stories like the 11 year old who was gang-raped in cleveland, texas, and then victim-blamed by the new york times, need to never fucking happen again.
let’s make this big, minneapolis. we are the gayest, most
hipster, most bike-friendly city in the country, and if anyone can have a
successful slutwalk, we can.
my parents were very excited about the slutwalk after i told them
about it and invited them to come. my dad asked me what i’m going
to wear. i told him that i’m not sure, in part because, with
minnesota weather/global warming these days, i probably won’t know what
the temperature is going to be until the day before. i also am
debating making a t-shirt with some sort of slogan like, “slut rights
are human rights.” my mom said she wanted to shop for my
outfit. they are pretty hilarious and awesome parents. i’m a