So, apparently in Toronto earlier this year a police officer speaking to a class at Osgoode Hall Law School said that a good way for women to avoid being raped was to not dress like sluts. Because as we all know, rape only happens when you’re saucy enough to deserve it. Sort of like how cancer can only kill you if you’re a smoker, or how you can never get in a car accident so long as you’re a good parent.
Slutwalk Toronto, earlier last week, was a protest designed to draw a bit of attention to the sort of ridiculous victim-blaming that sexual assault seems to bring out in people. Be sure to read the comments, particularly the ones that say “I know it’s not PC but…”
There’s something about pretending to be a tough person, someone who understands that the world is a hard place and can deal with it, that really appeals to people talking about tragedies that don’t affect them. Completely ignoring the fact that of course the actual terrifying part of the world we live in isn’t that you can only avoid danger and harm by being appropriately tough and smart, it’s that you can’t ever guarantee your own safety because terrible events can occur no matter how prepared you are. Knowing the risks only takes you so far, because at some point that bus might hit you even though you’re at a crosswalk.
But so long as you can convince yourself that you’re smarter, tougher, better than whoever was just brutalized you know you’ll never have to worry about something happening to you. Of course, the moment your mom dies of cancer, suddenly I’m the asshole for telling you that it’s mostly her fault because I heard somewhere that if you just stay inside you can’t get skin cancer. Duh, use some common sense.
A particularly affecting example of why this sort of pretend-toughness is incredibly awful to engage in is this tweet by Sarah Nicole Prickett, “”A lot of signs here are angry, but one made me die inside: ‘Xmas 1985. 14 years old. Bundled in layers. Was it my fault too?’”
And of course, the best part is that like all “Common Sense” advice, there’s absolutely no evidence that it’s got any basis in truth. So that’s nice, too.