Street harassment is defined as any unwelcome words or actions that invade the space of another -whether physically or emotionally- and focus attention on the gender or sexuality of the (usually female) target. Continue reading
The rape apologist is an odd animal. Usually they pass off their apologia as advice to women on how to stay safe, but that advice is unreliable at best. This approach to victim-blaming has earned them another nickname: the concern troll. When someone doesn’t understand victim-blaming, I am willing to give that person the benefit of the doubt; I will often engage in civil discussion with a victim-blamer who just doesn’t get what it is they’re saying, to what extent victim-blaming contributes to re-victimisation, or even what accountable language is. However, there is a difference between this and the true rape apologist: The true apologist puts considerable time and effort into creating a scenario that absolves the rapist of (predominantly) his responsibility, casts doubt onto the victim’s authenticity (the false rape claim), assigns guilt to the victim by way of some magical set of actions the victim should have carried out in order to not be raped (unfortunately, there is not a pill that wards off rapists in either the literal or figurative sense, as it is the rapist who is in control of the actions of the rapist – nobody else), and frequently conflates rape and sex. These apologists also tend to erase the vast majority of victims and perpetrators by insisting rape happens “out there,” committed by strangers, and also erase many victims by simply not acknowledging male victims, trans victims, child victims, elderly victims, and so on. The “casual” victim-blamer is someone who has bought into the line of the rape apologist, mostly because that line has been sold with no competition to a public hungry for answers for millennia. Continue reading
Wow. I just finished reading a real piece of work on someone else’s blog. He had the nerve to post it to the Slutwalk Toronto Facebook page because he was taking a very novel approach to victim blaming (read: “not very novel at all”) and wanted everyone to see he was totally incapable of absorbing new ideas.
Our esteemed writer is a believer in what he terms the “Oleg Volk school of rape prevention.” Mr. Volk, however, is not a preventer of rape but a proponent of “gun culture.” Volk uses propaganda tactics to argue his point on firearm legislation, equating those who favour gun control to racists who would prefer all potential victims of crime be unarmed and defenceless. A similar tactic was used in Canada recently when Vic Toews said those who were not in favour of strict internet controls were on the side of child pornographers; the tactic is the same regardless of who uses it, and betrays the lack of understanding of an opposing argument as well as a penchant for fear mongering. Guns and self-defence, or counter-violence in response to assault, is an option not everyone chooses to employ, or is capable of employing. Mandating counter-violence of any kind, which is what the either/or fallacy amounts to in the context of self-defence, is highly problematic and can serve to call into question the authenticity of a victim of crime. Continue reading
This is International Anti-Street Harassment Week, going until Saturday the 24th. To show our support for making the streets safer for women and girls, we’re distributing the following pamphlet on street harassment:
Feel free to click, print and share or let us know you’d like copies of it and we’ll do our best while supplies last.
Victim blaming has been the cornerstone of self-defence advice and education for… well, ever. “Do this, or…” and “Never do this, or…” are victim-blaming statements. Victim-blaming is the antithesis of empowerment. We speak of your responsibilities carelessly in this context, dismissing the responsibility of a perpetrator of crime – and therefor proclaiming crime’s inevitability and the predatory nature of our fellow crew-members on Spaceship Earth. Continue reading
Back in February, I wrote about an incident involving a constable with the Toronto police who gave the women in a law class fashion-advice (“Don’t dress like sluts!”) when asked what women could do to protect themselves from being sexually assaulted. The SlutWalk movement it sparked has now Continue reading
Some time ago, my daughter asked me what a cock-blocker was. She had heard it on the radio, during a discussion some DJs were having about their night on the town. Excellent. Gone were the days of “Do unicorns like Cheez-Whiz?” and”Can I stay up late?” Continue reading
I received an email asking about SlutWalk, issues around victim blaming and attire, and the messages we send. The questions were thoughtful and representative of a large group of people who have a hard time wrapping their heads around issues of rape and victim attire in general Continue reading
This is not my story, it belongs to someone else. Please take the time to read it thoroughly and picture it in your mind. Imagine it’s you doing the narrating. Or me.“A few weeks ago, I was on my way back from a long, hard run through Manhattan. I had had a really shitty day, and while the run had been hard, I was hoping that it would send some welcome endorphins pumping through my body. I stood on the subway, sweaty but pleased with myself, with my usual cool-down music piping loudly through my headphones. As I stood there, I became aware that the woman standing next to me was speaking to me. Continue reading
Lately I’ve been hearing increasing commentary about Slutwalk and the problem of the victim-blaming it addresses not being an “everyone” issue, that it’s an issue only for women. Or only for women, transgender and two-spirited people, which I take to mean only those who might look like women. The issue is certainly not one for cis-men (those born with male physiology who have a male gender identity), go the comments. Continue reading