‘Slut’s’ strut their stuff in Toronto

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Meghan McNeice

Email:mmcneice@radford.edu

Defined by a regular dictionary, a slut is a dirty, slatternly woman or just an immoral one. But to a particular police officer in Toronto, Canada, namely Constable Michael Sanguinetti, a slut now also means victim.

On January 24, Sanguinetti addressed students at York University. He gave safety tips, and during his talk he said, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

York University had been having problems with sexual assault and that comment launched frustrations of students to a whole new level.  This comment outraged students and they were even more upset when it took a month to receive an apology from the department on his behalf.  A protest was called to action to fight for their beliefs on the matter and a “SlutWalk” was formed.

Sonya Barnett organized “SlutWalk,” and with a crowd ranging from 1000-4000, they made a powerful statement. They proudly waved signs saying, “Stop Slut Shaming,” “Apologies are not enough,” and “Met a Slut today?”  Barnett emailed CNN and said, “Our definition is about attitude, not appearance. Just like sexual assault is not about appearance.”

Sexual assault cases go unreported far too frequently and leave women and men living in fear of speaking out. With comments like this made by police officers, victims will start thinking it’s their own fault. It gives them no reason to report the incident and no solution in sight. A comment from the SlutWalk Toronto Facebook page read, “Being assaulted isn’t about what you wear, it’s not even about sex, but using a pejorative term to rationalize inexcusable behavior creates an environment in which it’s okay to blame the victim.”

Obviously everyone dresses a little risqué from time to time, but if a situation such as sexual assault were to occur on a girl or guy, do you jump right to conclusions that their outfit was to blame? It’s absurd to think that the way someone dresses could cause an assault. That’s a serious accusation, and that cop was wrong for generalizing that women dress like sluts. All women are naturally beautiful in their own way, but beauty is not to blame for men who can’t control themselves. Officer Sanquinetti’s comment was foul- mouthed and he owes women all over a huge apology for what he said.

Radford University is lucky to have the Substance Abuse and Violence Education Support services located on campus in Tyler Hall. In the same building is the Women’s Resource Office. Both of these facilities are available for students and even people off-campus to turn to for help as victims of sexual assault or substance abuse, and it’s completely confidential. They have counselors there to speak with you and the Women’s Resource Office is open by phone 24 hours a day. Other offices students may not know about that can help in situations like this are Student Counseling, the Dean of Student’s office, Residential Life, the Student Health Center and the University Police and Human Resource office. The services each department can do for you are listed on the website.

“One in six women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape while enrolled as an undergraduate,” a statistic noted on the SAVES website at RU. I encourage students to read through some of the information posted online, and if you have been caught in a predicament such as sexual assault, go see someone and get help. Remaining silent isn’t going to solve the problem.