Two years ago today, the first Slut Walk took place in downtown Toronto to send a message about the harms of rape culture. What started out as a local protest quickly blossomed into a global movement with Slut Walk marches being organized everywhere from London to New Dehli.
For any of you who are (actually) wondering if victim-blaming still exists, I'm going to accept the possibility that you've lived under a rock for the past few weeks as a reason that you're not aware of this, this and this. Oh and of course this. Oh my gosh, and this.
To say that victim-blaming still permeates our cultural narratives is not a value judgment. It's a fact.
Now that we're on the same page and that we can agree that rape culture shapes our judicial system, the media, the work of the police force and the public's general attitude about sexual assault, I bet we're all equally pissed about this and wondering what we can all do to stop it. That's why I've compiled a list of five things you can do to stop victim-blaming today.
1. Talk about it.
Above: A picture of an anti-rape culture peace warrior I met at last year's Slut Walk.
Have discussions with the people around you about when you've felt blamed or have blamed others for their sexual assault. Let me start, once I was verbally harassed on the street of Montreal and my harassers told me that I was asking for it because my pants were pink. (And yes, those are the pink pants pictured above, and my choice of attire was anything but arbitrary.) Another time, after a man inappropriately touched me on the street, a police officer actually instructed me to "just ignore him," as if I was the one who needed to change my behavior.
When have you been blamed for assault? How did it make you feel? How can we stop it?
2. Tweet about it.
Here are some sample Tweets you can use today with all the right hashtags to join the incredible women and men talking about it right now:
Here's a list of photos you can share on social media to raise awareness about the issue and get some conversations going on Pinterest and Tumblr too.
3. Facebook it.
Use your social presence to inform your friends and family about sexual assault. Here are some stats you can share on your wall today:
- Connecticut is the only state that still requires a disabled rape survivor to show evidence of "kicking, biting, scratching" to prove that she objected to the rape"
- 1 in 5 women in the US will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.
- 3% of men will experience rape or attempted rape.
- 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped in her lifetime.
- 97% of rapists will never see a day in jail.
Special thanks to fellow PolicyMic writer Soraya Chemaly for all her incredible sexual assault statistic digging!
4. Reach out to a survivor of abuse and let them know it wasn't their fault.
Given our culture's record on victim-blaming, if you know a rape survivor, they have probably been told at one point in time that they could have prevented it. Tell them that you support them. Tell them that it wasn't their fault.
5. Leave a comment on this article.
Every time I have written about rape or pointed out victim-blaming, I have seen the comment section flooded with commentors saying things like, "I've had it with this victim-blaming crap" as if it weren't real (actual citation) or people trying to make a point by starting with the words "in the case of forcible rape" (actual citation). I've also had someone tell me that I "should get raped" (actual citation). I know a majority of people will agree with me on this and think victim-blaming needs to stop.
Please make that known here. Please leave your mark. Take ownership of this comment section, you lovely anti-rape culture peace warriors! I dare you.
Does victim-blaming make you go bananas? Let me know in the comment section.