Sex. It drives us, makes us who we are. I write it and I have a lot of opinions about it. And about other things--everything from movies to politics to education. In fact, after several months absence I've come to realize that I am no sex-pert and that my opinions and passions are far too varied to limit myself to only sexual issues. So....since this is my blog, I figure I should be able to voice my opinions about whatever I please.
If that makes me a be it!

So read, comment, ask questions, rant and rave...but most of all enjoy and open your mind to possibilities!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

No More Slut Shame! (Guest post)

Today is the Slut Walk in downtown Toronto. I was unable to attend, but in honour of this event I have been granted permission by my good friend, Jason, to post his wonderful blog entry on the topic.
You can find more from Jason at 

For sex there has always been a double standard for women. That is, we tend to impose harsh judgement on women who have it. 

At all.
In any circumstance.

Even if it is against her will.

Take the case of 14 year old Hena Akhter from Bangladesh. 

She was found by a woman whose husband was in the act of raping her. 
What did she do?
She took her and beat her for the crime of having relations with her husband.

This is a man who was punished before for harrassing her, but when she was taken and brutally raped by this man with a previous predatorial history his punishment was only a few lashes (the punishment was 201, but they stopped after only a few). 

And how did SHE fair in this ordeal as the victim of such a savage act?  How did the law, her neighbors and her church protect her?

101 lashes for "adultery" as imposed by the fatwa of the local Imam.

She died from her wounds.

She would have been better off not screaming for help and just simply giving in to his evil impulses. Such is the savagery of her vagina being a matter of public interest. 

Why did he get off with only a few lashes and she was whipped to, what would later be, her death? 

Because she is a woman, and her sexuality is not open to comprimise. Her vagina is owned by those who would judge her, and her sexuality is not left to her discrecion as to how it is best enacted, or even protected.

She is a thing to be owned and, as property, she is expected to maintain her "purity" as those in power see fit without regard for motivation or circumstance. 

We can't write it off as simply "their culture" when people are being subjugated like this.

Think that this just happens in extremist countries?

Think again.

Let's move on now to the recent article in the New York Times by James C. McKinley.

This one tells of an 11 year old girl who was gang raped on video in East Texas by a group of 18 young men.

She is the victim of a brutal, terrifying and life altering attack, and in this mainstream news source (The New York Times) she is portrayed as a young harlot with an uncaring and irresponsible mother, who dresses, and acts in such a way as to "draw"her attackers into this act of violence. This newspaper was more concerned with the fate of the boys than the condition of the victim.

There is no sympathy in the article, or even in the statements of the community members, for this young girl. Only for the attackers, and for the effect it has had on their community.

These are not all upstanding young men. There are among their numbers, thieves, drug dealers, and killers. But yet, the concern still lies in what a terrible thing it is for these boys to "have to live with it for the rest of their lives".


What about HER having to live with it? How about asking how SHE got drawn into such a situation? How about forgetting the effect on your poor community and focusing on the effect that it has had on her family??

The assault didn't even end there. The video of her humiliation was shared amongst students at her local school. 

But STILL when asked, THIS is the background information that the writer felt was important.

"Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said."
 -Ny Times

So she deserved it?

Perhaps she dressed inappropriately, but our response is to focus on that instead of the horrible crime? 

Perhaps she wasn't smart in placing herself in such company, or by being alone in such a place, or even by dressing in a way that garners the wrong attention for an 11 year old.

But to say that makes her somehow responsible for her victimization is absolutely unconscionable.
To even pretend that right after such an attack is the time to give her a lesson on how she COULD have better protected herself from these animals is ridiculous, unfeeling and immoral in the highest degree.
It implies that she should shoulder part of the blame, and that she somehow drew those boys to a crime that they otherwise wouldn't have committed.

I dont' care if she was marching down the middle of the street at midnight wearing nothing but brightly coloured sneakers and nipple tassels, if she gets brutalized it is NOT her fault. 

It is the fault of the people who performed the actions. 


People are responsible for their own actions.  

But because she is a woman, her vagina is public property and places her in the untenable position of being judged for such things.

There is no other crime in the world that asks for the motivation of the victim. 

Car stolen? If it was red and sexy, then it is your own fault.

House vandalized? If you yelled at your mailman and the neighborhood boys, then they can't be blamed.

Stabbed and robbed? If you were dressed nicely like you had money, then it is YOU who should be held accountable.

There is no situation where sex had against a womans will is excusable. None.


And to point fingers at HER after the act, is inhuman.

Even here in Toronto, (and even more surprisingly, during a Campus safety information session at York University) Toronto Police officer Const. Michael Sanguinetti, gave the advice to women to stop dressing like "sluts" if they didn't want to be victimized. I understand the cautionary, (who doesn't want to know how to fall under the radar of predators) but to include the distasteful label with it implies personal responsibility for the violence and that is unacceptable. 

(The constable issued an apology nearly a month later)

ENOUGH of the slut shaming!! Just enough.

Toronto has had enough. Sonya JF Barnett has had enough. 

She has courageously taken it upon herself to do something about it. Look it up under the Slutwalk.  She is taking to the streets, and leading a crowd behind her.  Dress like a "slut"?  GOOD she says.  Own the term and take it back.

Sexual assault isn't about what you wear, it isn't about how you act, and it isn't about how you tempt. It is about violence and it is NOT a woman's fault when it is inflicted upon her. 

Slut shaming (thanks to Ms Barnett for that term) isn't just about sexual assault. It is about judging a womans character based soley upon her private decisions in her own bedroom. 

Shame on you Toronto.

Shame on you New York Times.

Shame on you Bangladesh.

And shame on every one of you who feels that it is your place to judge a woman for what she does with her body or how she acts in the privacy of her own bedroom, or who gives even the slightest understanding or forgiveness to the evil men who betray each womans right to consent by forcing the choice on her.

This is the result of an attitude that is far more prevalent that you might think.

How many of you would lose respect for a woman who had been with 20 men? 



What about a man? 
Would they be held to the same standard?  
Why not?

Boys will be boys. We are expected to pursue and allowed to own our own genetalia and the privacy that comes with sexual matters.
Women can do so only under the veil of secrecy for fear of being branded immoral, and labeled a slut who is responsible for whatever befalls her.

Even if it is done against her will.

Shouldn't they have the same freedoms that we do?  
The same ability to like sex within or outside a relationship without being judged for it?
And shouldn't they be allowed the same freedom of choice to NOT have sex forced upon her without facing that same judgement?

To be made twice a victim?  Once for the violence her attacker inflicted on her, and twice by US for judging her somehow responsible.

It is already a crime that goes unreported.  Let's not make it worse.

Give women the same ownership of their sexuality, their genetalia and their consent as we have.

Think about it.

-Jason Burgoyne, Toronto, Ontario Canada

 Just to add my 2 cents worth.... I have long thought, as well, that women need to take ownership and revamp the meanings of many of the "derogatory" terms such as "bitch" and "slut". I think we've made progress with bitch. lol. And I think the new definition of "slut" should go something like this: 
Slut: a) A woman who is comfortable in her own sexual skin. Who has taken ownership of her body and her sexuality and who has no use for judgement...whether of her own sexuality or that of others. Whether she has had sex with one man or a thousand...or whether she used to BE a man and is now a transgendered lesbian, her sexuality is her own business and has nothing to do with her value as a human being.
b) A woman who can use the words "fuck", "cock," "pussy" and "cunt" comfortably, and in the correct, non-derogatory context, without shame or blame. 
c) An equal match for any cock-sucker.