The Slut Walk in Toronto

On April 3rd 2011, just last weekend of this writing, hundreds of women, men and youth rallied along Queens Park in down town Toronto to protest remarks made by one Metropolitan Police Officer. The officer in question said something to the effect that if you (women) want to be safe, then you should dress accordingly, directing his statement to women at a campus information session, at York University’s Osgood Hall (Slut Walk Toronto, 2011). This implies that women who dress in a so called way, deemed provocative, or dare I say like sluts, then subject themselves to being raped, sexually assaulted and treated in such a way as inferior.

Although the spotlight as being on the hundreds of women who have taken to the streets in protest, I have found that none of the commercial media outlets have focused on the real issue, and that is, this is a  men’s issue, or Male problem, of our society. The wrong doing here is that the Toronto Police officer  took an all to subjective point of view and a male chauvinistic stance on a problem that should have been driven towards the men in the audience. It is not the women who dress in such a way that is the cause of the problem, but the attitudes of men towards women who view them as subjective and perceive them as a specific stereotype. It is the men who should be given the attention of police in recognizing that this sort of conduct will not be tolerated in a free and democratic society such as Canada.

Yes, I am a male. A man who studies bad people, and social problems, for the last eight of my life. Academically, my field of expertise is in Criminology. My insight into various social problems has enlightened me to an understanding that I take seriously that deal with looking into root causes of problems. I pay close particular attention to the policing organisation in Canada. When I first read of this story, I was not surprised that an officer would make such accusation. This has happen in numerous occasion in the past, and more will continue into the future, but this is a social, and seemingly weak cultural norm, an attitude shared with many, from various groups, even today.

So, would an organisation such as the local police force dare tell an audience of its Male peers that it is they who should be warned, made vigilant and be reserved?  My point comes from an story a first year prof who told me of a case called the Boston Strangler, where police then proclaimed that a curfew of just women had to be made. The rational was that all of the victims were women who walked the streets after dark. The culprit was a male who first raped his victims, then strangled them afterwords. Instead, the curfew should have being for the men, not the women. The logic is, then only the one male would be walking the streets, and his capture would be better guaranteed.

I am on the fence with a public event of people like this.  I believe in education, starting a young age, then working it through all facets of society. However, sometimes it takes a march, or parade, to educate, and bring to light this social problems such as this. I believe that there are many cultural norms that need to be purged because of their underlying harms and discrimination that they ensue. The best example are the Gay Pride events. In less than forty years, homosexuality came from being a criminal offence, to a level of openness and acceptance in Canadian society today. There are groups today who wish to revert back to the days of darkness and run the world in ignorance, but hopefully the human race has risen above that for good.

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