FAQ About SlutWalk Valdosta
Q: Where did the name SlutWalk originate?
A: SlutWalk is an international movement that began in reaction to a remark by a Toronto law officer who said, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. It has now evolved into a body of community activists standing together to speak out against sexual violence. To read more about the original SlutWalk, visit www.slutwalktoronto.com.
Q: What is your goal?
A: The purpose of SlutWalk Valdosta is to challenge “rape culture” and create in its place a city-wide culture that promotes safety for every person. We encourage businesses, institutions, government entities and individuals to join with us condemning sexual violence; we stand united to champion the inviolability of each person’s right to be safe. We seek to create a future that protects every victim of sexual violence and to eliminate a society and criminal justice system that examines victims, not sexual attackers.
Q: Why use the word “slut”?
A:The use of the word “slut” is intentional. It has historically been used as a means of shaming and punishing female sexual agency (or even just the perception of sexual agency) and leads to a mentality that victims of sexual violence “had it coming.” Traditionally, the word “slut” is used primarily against women, but men experience shaming in similar ways as well. By using the word “slut” in the name of our walk, we directly challenge the use of shame as a weapon and “sluttiness” as a justification for victimization.
Q: What do you mean by “rape culture”?
A: The term “rape culture” was developed in the seventies and it has since become a popular part of feminist academic study. It is defined as “a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm. In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes” (Transforming a Rape Culture).
Rape culture is teaching women how to not get raped, rather than teaching not to rape. Rape culture is a justice system that further victimizes survivors of sexual violence by putting them on trial, rather than their attackers. It consists of ideals that punish and shame sexual agency (or even the perception of sexual agency) and feed into a mentality that victims of sexual violence “had it coming.” Rape culture is seen in slut-shaming, victim-blaming and the fear of non-hetero sexuality.
Q: What do you mean by “victim-blaming”?
A: The verbal, behavioral and legislative decisions that place guilt, blame or responsibility on the person that has been the target of sexual violence rather than placing responsibility on perpetrators and seeking appropriate legal action.
Q: What is slut-shaming?
A: Feministing 101 (http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/what-is-slut-shaming/) defines slut-shaming as the act of shaming a person for being sexual, having one or more sexual partner, acknowledging sexual feelings, and/or acting on sexual feelings. It should be noted that slut-shaming can occur even if the term “slut” itself is not used.
Q: Why focus on these topics, rather than specific policy issues?
A: We believe it is vitally important to address the need for policy change, but this particular event’s mission is to challenge the attitudes and myths that perpetuate ideologies that result in failing policy and the further victimization of victims.