Slut Walk Ottawa

A couple of months ago in Ottawa, a man in a car asked a girl for directions. She approached the car and was held at gunpoint and sexually assaulted. One of the guys at work said, “She deserved it. You don’t approach strangers.” I’m usually a pretty low key kinda gal and really don’t like conflict. But that ignorant and malicious comment conjured up the lioness in me. And oh did I roar (and walk out of the lunchroom).

I hate ignorance and mysogny. So when I heard about Slut Walk Toronto, I was thrilled. It’s an event that gathers people together who believe that how you dress or how you act does not give anyone the right to take advantage of you sexually. And there’s a walk in Ottawa!

This Sunday, April 10, meet up at Minto Park (Elgin/Gilmour Street) in Ottawa at 1:30 pm and take a stand on discrimination and abuse. We’ll sign letters addressed to the Ottawa police asking for more support for our safety and walk to the station to deliver them.  

A little note from the promoters of this event:

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 being re-appropriated.

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 sexual assault.

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 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.

Toronto and Ottawa are not the only cities hosting events. There are being held globally – from Yellowknife to Dallas. And you can start your own too. Learn more here.

A little Tori to get you in the Slut Walk zone:

9 thoughts on “Slut Walk Ottawa

  1. You said it absolutely right that “how you dress or how you act does not give anyone the right to take advantage of you sexually”. But this is true only in theory, because in real life, spanning the whole history of mankind, how you dress or act DOES result in people taking advantage of you sexually.

    Plus blaming a police man for saying, what started it all, is not right. What he said was obviously based on his years of experience, and he was right from a practical point of view. This is how the humans are and have always been and will always be, i.e. they do advantage of others based on how they act or dress.

    • But you see the issue is not how people dress but the choice to harrass someone based on how they dress. Or how they act. I don’t believe this is a cause and effect situation.

      The fact of the matter is that we live in a patriarchal society. One that for centuries has kept women on the bottom and men at the top. I’m not saying that women have not made great strides towards equality, but those strides have taken place very recently when you look at the history books (basically in the last century or two). So changing our thinking will happen slowly. In the interim, women are still being blamed for men’s bad behaviour.

      I don’t believe that we should be blamed for rape. I don’t believe we should be blamed for sexual harassment. And I don’t think my short dress or low cut top should be blamed for it either.

      I think the mindset that “it’s the woman’s problem” will change with time. I doubt I’ll see it change in my lifetime. But I’m proud to be doing my part to spark a change so that perhaps my niece will be able to live in a world where she can dress, act and speak however she pleases and be respected and empowered.

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  3. saying a ‘scantily-clad’ woman invites rape is like saying a jewelry store invites robbery by putting necklaces in the window. sexual assault is a CHOICE as much as robbery is a CHOICE. It’s unacceptable to blame women for something that is 100% NOT their choice. Thank you for this blog post!

    • That’s such a good way to put it. No matter how sparkly and stunning the jewelry is, it doesn’t give anyone the right to rob. Good analogy, Desi!

  4. I totally support the Slutwalk and I’m going to be there. I completely agree with everything you said.

    As a quick aside for the facts, though, that girl who was held at gunpoint and raped? She later admitted that she made it up entirely: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Barrhaven+attack+case+closed+police/4207554/story.html

    Now, I don’t mean to detract from the seriousness of actual rape cases, or to detract from the overwhelming trend of shaming and blaming women into minimizing what happened to them, if not forcing them to outright recant under duress. I also don’t doubt that that girl has at some point experienced some form of sex-related ugliness — almost certainly she’s been sexually harassed at some point, at the very least, because I don’t know of a woman who hasn’t been. It also doesn’t excuse the comments that your coworkers — and people everywhere, including judges (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/rape-victim-inviting-so-no-jail–rape-victim-inviting-so-no-jail-116801578.html) — felt it was acceptable to make.

    • I didn’t realize that she’d made it up. That’s unfortunate.

      I’m so glad that you were able to make it out. Wasn’t it a great walk? Too bad it was a bit rainy. Hopefully there will be another walk next year.

  5. These statements are so pure in truth and I cannot express the amount of desperation I am feeling to be apart of it, but I will not be in Ottawa. Sexual assualt awareness has been a huge drive in my life since I was 12 and assualted and it is so promising to see people so ambitious and so willing to create change, the pervious comment about how we will not see change in our life time is sadly correct, but the small amounts of people that you catch the attention of today and everyday are enough change for the day. All you can strive for is a chance to have a voice and the ability to motivate others to do so as well.

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