5 Reasons Why You Should Go To #SJSlutWalk
Marching in the steps of hundreds of thousands, people of all genders will be rallying on June 14 at 2:00pm at Harbourside Park, St. John’s to speak out about Canada’s victim-blaming culture and the sexual violence it perpetuates.
This week I spoke with Jenny Wright, the Executive Director of the Status of Women’s Council, about why you should go to the St. John’s SlutWalk
1. Because your clothing will not protect you.
Jenny Wright: “It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, that does not decrease your risk for sexual violence. So you should come out and feel free to dress in any what that you want in a safe space.”
2. Because sexual violence is happening all around us.
JW: “We counsel women here who have been victims of sexual violence. We hear from our other partners who are working in anti-violence, anti-sexual violence organizations. We know it anecdotally as women the safety that we perceive in our streets, in our bars, and in our cabs that we experience every day.I don’t know if we can necessarily say there is more here in Newfoundland than there is in New Brunswick. There is too much in our culture and we need to work at stopping that.”
3. Because victim-blaming silences women.
JW: “The organizations and community groups that sit on [the SlutWalk committee] continue to see time and time again more women coming forward and talking about more sexual violence they’re experiencing. Talking about how victim-blaming being one of the main reasons why they don’t come forward and report. We hear this a lot. We hear it at the women’s centre. They hear it at anti-violence groups, at sexual assault centres. Victim-blaming, victim-blaming keeps coming forward and it’s one of the main reasons why women aren’t speaking out about it, why they aren’t talking about the violence that’s happening, and certainly why they’re not going forward and laying charges.
Slutwalk forces women to talk about it. It’s controversial. It’s in your face. It attacks our own language, our own culture, which is inherently victim-blaming, and asks us to open that up and have a look at it. We wanted to choose something that would really make a statement around that piece.”
4. Because your previous sexual conduct does not determine your consent.
JW: “[SlutWalk] is about changing the conversation, changing the language. The language typically is still when a woman is sexually assaulted: What was she wearing? Who was she with? Did she know him? Did she like him? How was he dressed? Essentially, was she asking for it? And that continues to be the language around sexual violence.
What we want to put our energies into focusing on is changing that language, changing those words, and the whole conversation that surrounds sexual violence and putting it back on those who are responsible, the perpetrators of sexual violence.”
5. BECA– — — USE WE’RE OVER IT.
“Of the 217,900 women over the age of 15 residing in Newfoundland and Labrador, approximately 108,950 (1 in 2) will experience at least one incident of sexual or physical violence throughout their lifetime.
Approximately only 10% (10,895) of these women will actually report this victimization to police.
Only 5% of women are unable to identify their abuser.”