Monday, September 26, 2011

'Slutwalk' protest

Growing up we are thought that no matter what our culture, our language, our gender you can be anything you dream of being. But as we grew up we also heard something like dress appropriately, avoid making eye contacts with strangers, come home before it gets too late these are few rules that Indian daughters imbibe from their parents.

"Historically, the term ‘slut’ has carried a predominantly negative connotation," the website for Toronto's event reads - "Aimed at those who are sexually promiscuous, be it for work or pleasure, it has primarily been women who have suffered under the burden of this label. And whether dished out as a serious indictment of one’s character or merely as a flippant insult, the intent behind the word is always to wound, so we’re taking it back. 'Slut' is being re-appropriated."

But there was a totally different meaning behind naming the ‘safety for women march’ as Slut Walk. It started because few people were angry at the when Constable Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto Police officer, suggested that to remain safe, "women should avoid dressing like sluts. Toronto Police, because women were too tired of seeing sexual assault. Slut Walk was a reaction to not one officer’s remark but a history that was doomed to keep repeating. It was organised to tell the men that a woman’s racy attire cannot be an excuse to sexually harass her. We have the rights to wear anything we want- just because a girl is wearing skimpy clothes does not mean that she will be harassed or be labelled as a slut or a whore. Some activists have remarked that this approach is an example of women classifying their sexuality in male terms.

Inspired by the Slut Walk in Toronto, Slut Walk Delhi was a march in support of safety for women against violence in public places. The only difference was women were asked to wear decent clothes- not provocative as the Toronto public wore, keeping in mind the culture of India.

The general appearance of many women does little to enhance 'Self Respect' and the fact that when a case of rape DOES occur, the 'Victim' invariably appears in court dressed modestly, which clearly indicates that such 'Victim' must have been well aware of the provocativeness of her appearance.

Obviously there are cases where the dress code does not apply and rape cannot be condoned under any circumstances, it is a sad fact that women in general seem to have traded their femininity for the brassy and often 'Sluttish' dress codes and behaviour that attends them, which we see so often in the city centres of our nation.

Slut Walk Delhi was thus aimed to combat the myth of ‘THE SLUT’ and the culture of victim blaming that prevails the world over. The purpose of the walk is to challenge the popular mindset that victims of sexual violence are to be blamed for the crimes committed against them because of the way they dress. Instead of blaming victims, we should be focusing on the issue of sexual violence as a CRIME against an individual. I have the right to wear what I want AND not get raped.

This walk was organised for everyone – singles, girls, and couples, sisters- brothers- people of any age were allowed to participate and show their anger against the growing of sexual harassment. It was held to bring awareness to the shame that woman still face in the society.


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