You Are Why We Need SlutWalk, Dan Rottenberg
SlutWalk Philadelphia is a satellite of SlutWalk Toronto, and now Philadelphia appears to have its very own male figurehead spinning our cause into the limelight. Philadelphia’s consciousness is being raised much the way it was in Toronto, more than five-hundred miles away in another country.
In Canada,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.” This sparked a huge outcry in Toronto, and the local community organized a march against this kind of victim-blaming.
SlutWalks are taking off in countries across the globe, spreading like wildfire, fueled by frustration and anger and people just being plain fed-up. Oppression and abuse are the greatest motivators for rebellion and revolution. What a woman wears has nothing to do with the crime of sexual assault.
Here in the United States, this is evidenced through our judicial system where victims are often repeatedly asked what they were wearing the night they were attacked and whether or not alcohol was involved. The victim sits in judgment before the perpetrator. This mentality is evidenced by remarks made by both the Toronoto police officer and Philadephia’s own journalist Dan Rottenberg, as published in the Broad Street Review June 6, 2011.
Media outlets often publish opinions such as Mr. Rottenberg’s, for people to read and to which they may respond. Responses to Mr. Rottenberg words,
Earth to liberated women: When you display legs, thighs or cleavage, some liberated men will see it as a sign that you feel good about yourself and your sexuality. But most men will see it as a sign that you want to get laid…In the short run, I would suggest, it’s usually easier to change your own behavior than to change someone else’s.
were fueled by angry reactions. Yet, Mr. Rottenberg is echoing a similar perspective as that of the Canadian police officer in Toronto.
These sentiments are all-too familiar. If you dress or behave a certain way, you’ll get what’s coming. Sexual assault is not about sex. It’s an act of violence.
Now organizers are working to bring the message of the SlutWalk movement to Philadelphia. The focus of SlutWalk Philadelphia is to challenge the thinking that it’s acceptable to live in a victim-blaming society as we do. We are taught “don’t get raped,” instead of, “don’t rape”. The goal of SlutWalk Philadelphia is to raise awareness so we start dialogues with one another about ways in which our society perpetuates a culture that blames and shames the victim.
This isn’t just a women’s issue nor is it just a men’s issue. It’s everyone’s issue. Slutwalks bring the issue out in the open and like now, conversations begin and lead to education.
So, thank Mr. Rottenberg for calling attention to these issues in much the same way as the officer in the Tornoto police department.
You have both become symbols and icons for change. SlutWalk Philadelphia is here to pave the way because we’ve had enough.
You can read Mr. Rottenberg’s article here.
You can read his subsequent apology here.