Claiming sexy back

 371 total views

Students and local residents took to the street of Lancaster
If you happened to be shopping in Lancaster’s city centre on Saturday, May 28 at around 1pm you may have been among those witnessing history in the making. The busy streets were taken over by a crowd of 100 policed protestors shouting “slut, slag, cow, whore- we won’t take it any more.” This rally was part of the growing trend of ‘slut walking’ that has exploded globally. The comments that sparked this fire were made by Michael Sanguinetti – a police officer in Toronto. He stated that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised”. A subsequent global debate against victim blaming has unfolded within the realms of rape and sexual assault. Further comments by Kenneth Clarke, our very own Justice Secretary sparked a furore suggesting a difference between “serious, proper rapes” and others. Action Aid, an international poverty charity, states that one in three women worldwide will be raped, assaulted, or physically or sexually abused in a lifetime. With statistics like these it is unsurprising that the comments have sparked outrage.

The protestors marching the streets of Lancaster were made up in the majority of females of all ages, accompanied by the odd supportive boyfriend: some of whom were wearing dresses for the occasion. Having being warned by the police about the consequences of indecent exposure, stances were made in the form of placards and signs instead of nudity. The walk began at the top end of the city centre and made its way down the main high street eventually ending up at the Queen Victoria monument in Dalton Square. The march went without heckling from the public who stood bemused as shouting female students led the crowd by a huge banner stating “slut is just a word : sexual assault is a fact”.

The rally ended with a luminous and thought provoking speech by Chris Satori who works for the Virtual Lancaster News Blog. She stated women’s bodies are not living porn that need to be hidden and smuggled around. Another speaker shone light on Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire. Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday she proposed a bill that would bring about school classes on abstinence, but only for girls aged 13 to 16. “Girls are taught to have safe sex, but not how to say no to a boyfriend who insists on sexual relations”, she claimed. She also said she had sat in on sex education classes in 17 schools and had spoken to teenage girls, many of whom “do not even think they have the option of saying no to boys”. Chris Bryant, a Labour MP thankfully spoke up stating the bill was “the daftest piece of legislation” he had seen. “The single most important thing we can do for any young person is give them the self-confidence to be able to make good decisions for themselves.” (The Guardian).

The careless nature of the original comments demonstrates that patriarchy is still damaging society and the immediate system of male rule is often the first train of thought. It is important to clarify that the rapists are not the victims. They do not spontaneously become helpless uncontrollable beings at the sight of a pair of legs. Rape is a physically and emotionally violating crime and needs to be treated as such. If someone robbed a jewellery shop would they be let off lightly because the goods were advertised in the window? If someone stabbed another person would they be let off lightly by saying they were provoked? No. I wonder how many young girls have told a guy before taking him home that they don’t want to have sex only to have him try his luck over and over again until they eventually give in. Inviting someone back to your room does not give them an excuse to coerce you into sex after you firmly set the guidelines. Wearing a short skirt does not give someone a reason to be raped. On whatever level we all need to stand our ground and have our voices heard: Yes means yes, no means no!

All women should have the confidence to wear whatever the hell we want and the confidence to speak out when something is so clearly wrong. We are not ashamed of our own bodies and we will not stand for the reinforcement of sexual stereotypes through derogatory language, parliament bills or the media. Men are not wild creatures who cannot be controlled and women are not helpless sluts.

Lancaster’s answer to this movement asserted the rights of women and girls and in doing so did the cause proud, the participants were dignified yet strong, making an effective stance for the quiet city. I’m sure I speak on behalf of all the protestors when I say I will continue to represent women as strong, confident and will never be made to feel ashamed of our glorious bodies.

I am a slut. What are you going to do about it?

Similar Posts
Latest Posts from