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June 25: Slutwalk Detroit

Saturday, June 25th
2-5 P.M.
Starting at Hart Plaza

From the organizer:
We are going to march down Woodward Avenue in efforts to bring awareness and to stop slut-shaming, no one deserves to be raped, assaulted, or harassed.

Note that this event isn't just for women, and isn't just for women dressed as sluts. We want all Sluts AND Allies there-- dress as you please, whether it's a corset and fishnets or sweatpants and a t-shirt. Because victim-blaming affects people of all genders, and no matter wha...t you're wearing, you don't deserve to be targeted for it.

Inspired by our friends and allies in Toronto, Michiganders are ready to stand up, fight the sexist social acceptance of rape in our culture, and reclaim the word "slut."

SlutWalk began after a Toronto police officer said, "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." Sadly, this mentality of blaming the victim, instead of the perpetrator of the crime, has become all too common.

SlutWalk Detroit will be held on June 25, 2011, from 2 to 5. Location is Downtown Detroit

We are seeking volunteers to help with logo and flyer design. Spread the word! Reblog us, retweet us, and tell your friends, families, classmates, and coworkers!

Email us at slutwalkdetroit[at]gmail[dot]com
Twitter: @slutwalkdet

Recently I did an interview with Lena, the organizer of Slutwalk Detroit:

Detroit Area Dork: Who is the #1 intended recipient of the message of the Slutwalk?

Lena: I believe that if I had to choose who the first recipient would be, I would chose the victims and specifically women, because their percentage is higher. A lot of sexual assaults are never reported because women feel shameful and are afraid of being blamed or branded with the word of "slut". Slutwalk is to show and support women with the message that it doesn't matter what you wear, if you’re flirtatious, if you like sex, if you're a stripper or a prostitute. If you say no, that means no. It’s okay to like sex. It’s not ok to force sex with someone. In our society we tend to blame the victims when it comes to sexual assault. What were they wearing, were they drinking, etc. Women need to know it’s okay, you weren't in the wrong, and that your voices should be heard.

D: Do you know whatever happened to the Toronto cop who said "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized"?

L: I heard that the police officer was "disciplined internally". I’m not sure what that entails. He also wrote a letter of apology to York University.

D: People are often told that they should buy the Club to prevent having their car stolen, or that they should have a lamp set to a timer before they leave for vacation in order to prevent having their house broken in to. Are there any rape and sexual assault prevention measures that you feel are appropriate for law enforcement to recommend to women?

L: Yes, I would recommend for women to not invite people into their home if they don't know them well. If you are out, it is best to hang out with a group of friends and don't go off alone. When out late at night, walk and park in well lit areas. When drinking make sure you watch each others’ back, don't let your friend leave with people they don't know, and don't accept drinks from someone unless it’s given directly from the bartender or server to prevent it being spiked with a date rape drug. Just basically be alert and listen to your gut.

D: Would you rather see the word slut be buried, or reclaimed and redefined?

L: I would love to see all hateful words gone from existence, but that’s not possible. The word slut has been used for years to scorn women and make them feel ashamed, but I feel by redefining it and reclaiming it we are giving power to the word in a positive sense.

D: Do you think there is a possibility that "traditional family values" advocates will turn their attention to movements like yours and become your opponents?

L: There is a possibility, yes. We have had negative feedback over Slutwalk, but we have also had an outstanding amount of positive feedback. We are not promoting promiscuous activity or sex, we are trying to prove our point in that it shouldn't matter what a victim's behavior is, or what they wear. There is no miniskirt or short top that permits rape. This walk is to educate and inform. Traditional family values or not, these girls aren't given a choice. Whether they were sexually active or a virgin, instead of them feeling ashamed that they may have did something to provoke this, we need to stop blaming the victims and start looking at the assaulter, because a rapist is a rapist and there really is no excuse for the assaulter's actions.

D: In regards to that, I've recently seen some rather offensive criticism of the Slutwalk on the facebook event page (they've since been deleted) from what I'm guessing are guys on the younger side. Do you think they're trying to be ironically offensive (like tosh.0), or do they truly oppose the message of this event?

L: I can’t honestly say that I know what these people are thinking. Obviously people have different views on the matter. A lot of the negative comments I've seen do seem to be more on the ironically offensive side, and like you said, they appear to be younger males who don't take the issue of sexual assault seriously. Which further justifies why we think there should be more education geared towards sexual assault prevention and its wrongful nature, not what steps should be taken to not be a victim.

D: What do you think are the motives for those who commit slut shaming?

L: What are the motives for anyone that is trying to hurt another person? Low self-esteem, wanting to be "cool", mis-informed. I don't really know.

D: Do you think that sexual mores at large need to change in order to put an end to slut shaming?

L: If you’re speaking of double-standards, yes. There has always been the double standard between men and women. Men can have multiple sexual partners and that’s cool, and if a women does the same she is branded by derogatory names.

D: I was thinking along the lines of something like the book The Ethical Slut, the idea that new sexual mores can be practiced with honor and integrity. With that maybe we can move past the "slut paradox" (I like to think that I came up with that term), where men want easy sexual access to women, but resent those that give it to them (like the Jersey Shore guys, not that I admit to ever watching that show). Since I'm just an amateur, and this really isn't a professional interview, I could also go on a rant about this book I just read call Sex Before Dawn, which argues that monogamy only started after the advent of agriculture, and cites a lot of examples pre-agriculture tribes, but then I'd just be book-naming-dropping.

Of course we don't have to change that much in order to change perceptions about rape victims, do we? Can we change people's outlook on rape victims without drastically changing our outlook on sex?

L: Those seem like some interesting books that I will definitely check out. I don't know if I’m fully understanding the depth of your question, but I don't think people’s outlook on sex needs to be changed. People participate in sex for pleasure, but no one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.

D: In all likelihood, I don't know what I'm asking either. Let me try to come at it another way. Is it possible to end slut shaming while still holding on to some of the last vestiges of traditional sexual mores?

L: Traditional sexual mores, the issue of sex in black and white, there really isn’t a gray area in that subject. For the people who still live avidly by these values, no I don’t believe there will be an end of slut-shaming on their end. But who exactly is branded a slut? People use the word slut in so many different situations. It seems the definition has gone outside the boundaries of just sexual activity and is now used to brand people by the way they express themselves through clothing, body piercings, dancing, etc. The current fashion trends are skinny jeans and high heels, slimmer fitting clothes are in, low cut tops are in, low rider jeans are in, and these styles have been given the term "slutty", giving no justification by the person wearing the clothes who could very well be a virgin and saving herself for marriage. The word is used very loosely and has parted from its original definition of -individuals of any gender who have and enjoy frequent consensual sex, especially with multiple partners.

D: As for why men get the benefit from the double standard regarding gender and promiscuity, do you think it stems more from women not devaluing a promiscuous man to the same degree that men do in the opposite situation, or from men just not caring if a woman thinks a man is devalued for being promiscuous?

L: It’s a common double standard of society, I don’t think it roots from just the opinion of women as a whole, or men as a whole not valuing the opinion of women. This stigma has been around for hundreds of years and stretches across the world. I used to live in Korea and it was common over there for men to cheat on their wives, they have special bars, hair salons, coffee girls, etc. to cater to men, and women just turned the other cheek. Or look at the Islamic culture where it is strictly enforced that women must remain pure until they are married or they could be killed for disgracing their family. When we speak of a virgin, it is mostly women who are represented by this word. Society doesn't question the virginity and pureness of males. I think this also has to do with the balance of power between men and women, we live in a male dominated society and because of this men aren't looked at in the same light as women, and a lot of women don’t devalue a promiscuous male because we've learned through our society that a promiscuous man is socially acceptable.

D: Are you worried your message could be misinterpreted, or all together ignored when it's being delivered in the midst of titillating imagery?

L: People may interpret the message in different ways. I hope people understand that this walk is about sexual assault awareness, and about victim rights. We don’t want people to feel ashamed to use their voice and we would like to change the outlook of how people view victims. We accept constructive criticism and opposing views. We are constantly learning from what people have to comment.

D: If the parade route ends up being lined with lecherous onlookers gleefully snapping photos, would that discourage you from holding an event like this again?

L: No, it wouldn’t. Obviously you can’t prevent things like that, but the cause is greater than this, and the amount of people that are willing to participate and the fact that we can possibly change some people’s opinions on slut-shaming and victim blaming and stop using the way people dress as an excuse allowing them to be sexually assaulted is what we are trying to do. This may turn into an annual thing, who knows.

This post by:
I'm a dork, I live in the Detroit area, and sometimes I take blurry photos with an outdated camera