Wednesday, 25 May 2011

I am now sure that the Slutwalk is needed here and NOW.

Crossposted from ScubaNurse's blog.

I was willing to understand a police officer making a stupid comment out of genuine concern, at a small gathering. I get that some people who work in Law enforcement get tired of going to scenes of abuse and rape and would do anything to stop them, even try to protect people from the wrong direction.
I did wonder at times if slut walk was an over reaction to a small incident, and then I thought about all the jerks (and wonderful people) that I know who genuinely believe that what women wear has a part in whether they are raped or not.

Tonight’s episode of “Backbenches” sealed my resolve to attend and promote the Auckland branch of Slutwalk on June 25th.

I give the police a long leash, giving that they are on the front line of violence and the sicker levels of our society, but politicians are another breed altogether. By the time you have worked in high level corporate, and then had 3 years in parliament I would expect that you would
A) Have a good grasp of the smooth lines people want to hear.
B) Know when to keep your mouth shut if what you believe is blatantly misogynous.
Wouldn’t you Paul Quinn??

But no…

On tonight’s episode of Backbenches Paul (and the entire room and cameras) was told why slutwalk is occurring. He was asked to weigh in on women’s clothing choices and the link with assault.
And his response (I am waiting for a direct quote here and what follows is from memory – so please forgive any inaccuracy) was to reply that alcohol intake was more of a risk and women who went out drinking until all hours were putting themselves at risk.
He also made some disparaging comments about people in short skirts being out at 6am when he goes to the gym.
– Because us sluts really should be nocturnal, and we are asking for it – right?

This is someone who was being beamed out to the entire nation, who is in charge of policy decisions and represents the people of this country.
He didn’t even look EMBARRASED!

This is why we need Slutwalk, because the perception that victims are EVER to blame for an assault or rape is entirely wrong and incredibly sick.
And yet it is not rare, and this has proved that it is pervasive enough that even our political leaders feel comfortable expressing these themes.
And that is not ok.

Shame on you Paul Quinn, I feel sorry for you.


Scuba Nurse said...

Just a note.
On twitter it took about 30 seconds for this to be all about Quinn being a "bad guy".
I don’t know Quinn, and I suspect he might be an ok human even if he is painfully ignorant.
The important point is not that one person is an asshole, the point is that someone with that much power and public attention thought he could say that, because EVERYONE is.

Story of O said...

The point Quinn made was valid....alcohol DOES play a role in some rapes and some Women DO ,by their actions , facilitate incidents occurring that may otherwise not have.

now this doesn't excuse rape in anyway,shape or form....but it does go to the heart of taking some personal reponsibility for ones choices and ther consequences in life...

And as a Woman I cringe in shame sometimes at the behaviour of what can only be called sluts in the streets of Auckland during the weekend.Boozed out of their tiny minds and nearly naked they act like cats on heat.I'm not surprised they attract male attention of the lower kind...

Anonymous said...

@Story of O

"And as a Woman I cringe in shame sometimes at the behaviour of what can only be called sluts in the streets of Auckland during the weekend.Boozed out of their tiny minds and nearly naked they act like cats on heat.I'm not surprised they attract male attention of the lower kind..."

Gosh. You mean it's almost like they....deserve it?

There is only one thing that can make women safe from rape: men not raping them. Women are raped by husbands, friends, dates, strangers, wearing burqas, miniskirts, sensible shoes, drunk as skunks and sober as judges. The common factor isn't their behaviour. It's that someone chose to rape them.

But, hey, why talk about that when we can complain about the nearly-naked sluts on Queen Street and their failure to take personal responsibility for the choices of predatory men?

Lucy said...

eep - the comment above was me, didn't mean for it to be anonymous!

Lucy said...

Er - a comment which I can no longer see, that is, NOT the "Story of O" comment. Dunno what's going on there.

LudditeJourno said...

Oh Story of O,
I want to live in a world where I can get boozed and be ok.
I want to live in a world where I can wear whatever the hell I want and be ok.
"Attracting male attention" should not mean being raped.
The end.

Rageaholic said...

Thank you Story of O for another comment proving how much we need slut walk. Do you have any statistics relating to rape cases where alcohol was involved, or are you just repeating the same story rape culture keeps telling us? And can you please tell me whether the perpetrators had been drinking? Perhaps we should be telling men not drink if it increases the likelyhood of them "misunderstanding" a lack of consent and committing a rape.

And the tale of women getting raped when they are drunk and dressed like "sluts" by random opportunistic men is a myth, 90% of offenders are known to rape vistems prior to the assualt: Also, you'll notice that the rape crisis website does not mention what those 90% of women are wearing when they get raped, because it's irrelevant. As a matter of fact, in the tips to avoid rape it does not say anything about manner of dress because it’s irrelevant. I note that the last point does say that excessive use of alcohol and drugs are often related to non-consensual sex, but it does not say that not getting drunk will help you avoid being raped, and again makes me think we need a public service campaign saying something along the lines of "Had too much to drink? No still means no: don't rape people."

A Nonny Moose said...

Bah. O is a troll. Remove their oxygen and watch their balloon deflate.

There is no excuse for rape. Ever. What somebody does on their own time, money and recognisence is their business. That you MAKE it yours says a lot.

padgp said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for tuning in guys, I was close to tears with nervousness!!!!

Paul Quinn, what a knob. His post show tweet just reinforcing that. The Floor Manager said after my piece that he really is a "good guy" but put him in front of a camera and some stupid shit coems out.

To reiterate what Trevor Mallard said - rape has nothing to do with what a woman wears or how much she has had to drink.

Rageaholic said...

Yeah, after I hit "publish" I immediately went "oops I fed the troll!" But comments like Quinn's, and O's really made my blood boil. I love getting dressed up ("sluttily" I guess) and going out drinking, and neither me or anyone I go out with has ever had anything bad happen to us when we've done this, and we've been doing it for years. According to these myths perpetuated by rape culture we should have been assualed over and over and over again when going out, but it doesn't happen like that. Raped by a friend while fully clothed and asleep, yes. Raped by a family friend in a supposedly "safe" environment, yes. Raped by a family member while still a child, yes. Clothes and booze had nothing to do with any of those situations.
And not all of those example had female victims - another consequence of the "you'll get raped if you're a drunk slut" story is that it excludes anyone who doesn't fit that stereotype, and can lead to victims questioning their experiences, or wondering if they were at fault in some other way.

Scar said...

Slutwalk is, in my opinion, a privilege fest.
I won't be attending and I won't be supporting it.

Instead I'll save my energies for Queer the Night, which actually has some relevance to me.

Boganette said...

Thanks so much Pollyanne for speaking. I would have been so nervous! You did amazingly well!

You can watch it here:

I'm really pleased with what Trevor Mallard said: "It can never be an excuse to rape a woman because of what she wears or what she's had to drink. It's just wrong."

Paul Quinn's comments "It's a real issue....with young ladies getting Courteney Place at two and three in the morning. it's about drink and behaviour" - were definitely victim-blaming.

Heather Roy dropped the ball when she said "alcohol is a contributing factor" and talked about teaching her daughters to take "responsibility for their actions". Though she did say "it's not about what people wear" and "there is never any excuse".

I think the show itself really made it clear (as if we all didn't know already) that blaming women for rape because they've had a drink or are drunk is just as common as blaming women for what they wear as an excuse for rape.

Hugh said...

Neither Quinn nor the original policeman deserve the benefit of the doubt (except to the degree that the policeman has, as I understand it, apologised, while Quinn, at date of writing, hasn't).

In fact if anything I find a policeman wielding these sorts of opinions even more threatening than a politician, or at least a backbench MP like Quinn. Both way more potential to harm people with these beliefs than the average Joe Bloggs, but police brutality is a lot more common than MP brutality.

Scuba Nurse said...

@Padgp - I loved seeing you on Backbenchers, you were clear and to the point while still making it obvious that this is an important issue. You were awsome! TV cameras are a nightmare to speak in front of.

Scuba Nurse said...

Hugh - good point. A very good point. had I not worked on the side of dealing with the messed up side of the public I would agree 100% with you. This is entirely an opinion based on my perception of how a job can f you in the head.

Scuba Nurse said...

Scar - I understand where you are coming from because I read your other comments, but I have to say that was a bit rude.
If you don’t want to be involved in something that is fine, but don’t waste both our time having a snark; put your energy into other more relevant projects, or make changes to improve things.
I would not go to the Queer the night site and bitch about how I’m not gay, but I have been assaulted, and how it is too specialised.
It is not your responsibility to educate me on what your needs are, and you do not want to be involved, but for those who do how can we make slut walk more inclusive?
I would like everyone to be walking that day and fully intend on taking my dad, and my friend who never even exposes her hair.

What needs to change for you to feel included there?

anthea said...

Scuba - I do understand your frustration, having been and being involved in the organisation of several anti-violence actions in various forms. But I think there is a difference between feeling excluded because you're not gay (if I'm correct in assuming that that translates to straight, and you're not talking about the fact there is too much emphasis on some parts of the QUILTBAG spectrum) which is an advantaged position in this society, and the exclusion/uncomfortableness felt by trans* women etc. Whilst if I was involved in organising slutwalk I'd be really keen to hear Scar's suggestions, I'm reluctant to put the responsibility on people from groups that have a history of exclusion to sort things - particularly when they don't know if they'll be listened to.

anthea said...

(My above comment was in response to an earlier version of Scuba's comment which has since been modified. Parts of it may not fit as well...)

Scuba Nurse said...

Yes, sorry for the change, I added a bit on to the end. My first comment didn’t really cover what I wanted to say, and I didn’t want Scar to feel pressured to fix the problem for me, just get discussion going around how to make Slutwalk more inclusive.
I understand that I am in a really privileged position being in a hetero relationship, and my example wasn’t a good one. A better one would have been that I am not going to my friend’s son’s christening because I do not have children and would feel excluded there.
What I took issue with was not the feeling of exclusion, or disagreement, it was the fact that Scar’s comment was a flat statement without any option of discussion or resolution.
If there is no willingness to discuss then the comments section was an odd place to hang out. Had I not read Scar’s other comments on another post I wouldn’t even have known what was going on.

There are some really good points about whether the word slut is a class term, and whether we even want to reclaim it over on Luddite Journo’s post for anyone who is interested.

David S. said...

I wonder if these people have ever thought that even if* there is such a link between date rape, alcohol and a womans attire, then that just points to the fact that the victim-blaming that comes as a result of such factors may be the thing encouraging potential rapists to target such woman.

The more people who buy into this crap the more likely rapists are to get away with it.

*and it's a pretty big if, I've never seen any evidence for it.

Story of O said...

What I said,which has been ignored in the usual hysterical self-justification of certain peoples refusal to acknowledge facts and reality on this site was...

"now this doesn't excuse rape in anyway,shape or form....but it does go to the heart of taking some personal reponsibility for ones choices and there consequences in life..."

As the Mother of three late teenage girls and one son I know what I've seen and that is girls dressing to attract attention from males.....I did it myself when young in the sixties and most Women, if honest will admit to the same...its just natural sexual play.Add alcohol and an attitude of "all fun,no responsibility" and its no surprise bad incidents are more likely to happen.

It would be nice to live in a world where we could live without fear of unpleasant consequences for our actions but that world,like the one with candy coated roads and honey dew rivers doesn't we apply some common sense.

Scuba Nurse said...

“Usual hysterical self-justification of certain peoples refusal to acknowledge facts and reality on this site...”
I object to being accused of being self justifying when you have no idea of who I or several others are, or what on earth we could be justifying, Don’t make this personal.
I understand that this message of women needing to look after themselves is one that we have all been raised with but there is a lot of cross over between self care and victim blaming. Please be aware when you are crossing that line.
We already have this wonderful world - a world where you so sarcastically mentioned “candy coated roads and honey dew rivers”.
An example?
Let me suggest that I get dressed in my kick boxing uniform, don my gloves and deliberately go to the gym to fight. There has been blood spilled in the past, and there may be today.
One of my team mates walks into the gym, we have an argument, they pull out a gun and they shoot me.
I am either seriously injured or dead.
At NO point in proceedings would anyone be questioning me about what I was wearing or misleading intentions I was giving off.

Because a fight is not a killing. And Sex is not rape.

A small child begins wearing pull up nappies providing easier access to their genitals for self toileting.
The child is going through a phase of asking about “private parts” and touching themselves in public.
At times staff still need to wipe this child’s genitals when they have an accident.
If this child was assaulted by a responsible and loving staff member, at no point in proceedings would the question of the child being provocative come into question.

Because sexual assault is not safe touch, and rape is NOT sex.

With regards to the rape of adults we seem to still be placing the onus on women to wear “safe” clothing, stay in “safe” places, behave “safely”, and maintain control of their own senses.
There is STILL no marketing around perpetrators taking ownership of their behaviour.

Besides that, most women are not raped by “the bad man in the bad place whilst drunk”.
As others have pointed out, it is perpetrated by people we know and it is still happening in the homes and workplaces.

If you cannot even see a tiny bit of this I suggest you go elsewhere and do some research.
For your daughters sake, if not ours.

Story of O said...

Nice context dropping there....I assume that's all you could muster as an argument?

The facts of reality are that Women dress to make themselves noticed by men they hope to attract...and when that's done to amplify beauty and the sexual signalling that breasts'legs and buttocks naturally convey to males one shouldn't be surprised when one receives it...but rape is something else again.

Story of O said...

Ps....Men DO rape for sexual satisfaction....the power dynamic is a "fringe" benefit.Try having penetrative sexual intercourse with a non aroused man....not happening.

....To be fair I should now state here my 22 years experience in behavioural science research.

Scar said...

I apologise Scuba Nurse; I won't comment again.

Jo said...

Everyone on the internet has 22 years experience in behavioural science research.

A Nonny Moose said...

Very simple question O: if one of your daughters got raped while out drinking, wearing whatever they felt like, who would you blame.

This is not a trick question.

Dolly said...

I am appalled by the attitude of the person referring to themself as "Story of O." While perhaps some women could make "better choices" in the way they conduct themselves, ALL men can ALWAYS MAKE THE CHOICE NOT TO RAPE!
She states in one comment that "Men DO rape for sexual satisfaction....the power dynamic is a "fringe" benefit." She goes on to claim that she has been a behavioral researcher for 22 years.
However, a decent man or even one who saw women as nothing more than sex objects but did not get off on traumatizing people would never stoop to raping somebody.
Other behavioral researchers have stated for many years that rapists are more interested in asserting power over their victims than in getting laid. If someone wanted simply to get laid, it would be easy enough to find a willing partner.
Does this mean that pedophiles are excused because a pedophile may obtain sexual satisfaction while raping a child? That is what this individual's "logic" implies.
I'm afraid that I am probably feeding a troll. No woman in her right mind would ever be a rape apologist.