My Dress is not a Yes!

I saw an interesting interview today on Morning Joe with Jessica Valenti, the author of a Washington Post piece titled SlutWalks and the future of feminism. Here are a few clips:
It’s a controversial name, which is in part why the organizers picked it. It’s also why many of the SlutWalk protesters are wearing so little (though some are sweatpants-clad, too). Thousands of women — and men — are demonstrating to fight the idea that what women wear, what they drink or how they behave can make them a target for rape. SlutWalks started with a local march organized by five women in Toronto and have gone viral, with events planned in more than 75 cities in countries from the United States and Canada to Sweden and South Africa. In just a few months, SlutWalks have become the most successful feminist action of the past 20 years.
The protests began after a police officer told students at Toronto’s York University in January that if women want to avoid rape, they shouldn’t dress like “sluts.” (If you thought the days of “she was asking for it” were long gone, guess again.)

Heather Jarvis, a student in Toronto and a co-founder of SlutWalk, explained that the officer’s comments struck her and her co-organizers as so preposterous and damaging that they demanded action. “We were fed up and pissed off, and we wanted to do something other than just be angry,” she said. Bucking the oft-repeated notion that young women are apathetic to feminism, they organized. What Jarvis hoped would be a march of at least 100 turned out to be a rally of more than 3,000 — some marchers with “slut” scrawled across their bodies, others with signs reading “My dress is not a yes” or “Slut pride.”
To follow up you might want to catch the six minute Morning Joe interview here. In the interview Jessica talks about the "but" aspect of this subject. She speaks about how people often speak of a rape victim saying how awful that was and sometimes add a "but" as in "I wish that she did not dress that way" or "she was asking for it by dressing like that". She also points out that the victims of rape are, generally speaking, not those who dress slutty.

I applaud the organizers of these walks and appreciate the attention that they bring to this important issue of sexual violence. In response to my post some may want to bring up the issue of women's clothing. If you do then I think that you have missed the point entirely.


  1. Good post, Bob. This is an issue I have strong feelings about.

    Several women close to me have been raped, each of them in circumstances that could have been blamed, but each with a male assailant who knew exactly what he was doing.

  2. No one deserves to be raped, whether wearing little or a lot.

    The Bible speaks of modesty, but what about a 80 year old woman completely dressed..who get's raped.

    We live in a wicked and depraved world. Heaven can't come too quick.

  3. There is no justification for rape...ever. In fact, I consider it a demonic act.


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