"I wanted to get back to you to do you the courtesy of saying that obviously we're completely against this commentary, but we're taking a stand to actually not speak to Sun News because of the absolutely disgusting things that they published. The Toronto Sun published an article pretty much agreeing with the preacher, saying that women were like deer, men were like hunters, and as long as a man pretty much just knew it was a slut, that was fine."
That was a guy, Mike something. Right after our SlutWalk rally where he came to our afterparty, uninvited and probably triggered people where that was meant to be a safe space for. There was absolutely no accountability on that, so we really don't have any interest in speaking to a news media outlet that pretty much supports raping women who dress provocatively."
"We have strong opinions about this, but I guess one of my comments to the Sun is they seem to carry these same values. The Sun has not shown any accountability on issues like this in the past, so why bother hearing women's voices now?"
"Overall, when there's no accountability and a media outlet is still publishing that stuff, he (Strobel) probably blamed victims that nght in our safe space. Which is a huge issue for us and there was a lot of responses to that place and it was still published very willingly by the Sun, with no counter and accountability on that. We face that time and time again. That was one of the worst media pieces that was so blatant and terrible in saying women were asking for it."
"Overall, we're just saying, "F... you, Sun."
- Heather Jarvis, SlutWalk
The Mike Strobel column in question came from the Toronto Sun's issue of the 31st of May, 2012. For my readers' sake, the column is below.
I got back from my cabin in the nick of time for SlutWalk.
The event has become so chic, there’s even an after-party. It’s like the Oscars or a TIFF premiere or a Charlie Sheen show.
Some of my best friends are sluts, so I wandered up to the post-march soiree at The Vic, a popular club on Church St. in the Gay Village.
The theme was My Body Loves To Dance, a play on the protest’s slogan, My Body Is Not An Insult.
Organizers decided against the Club District because, as one told The Grid weekly, it “reeks of male entitlement.”
And I thought that was just the slaughterhouse on Wellington St.
At The Vic, we boogied surrounded by signs that read “Don’t blame the victim,” “Yes means f--- me. No means f--- you” and so forth.
I wore my sluttiest jeans and tried to fit in. Actually, it was a blast.
But after a couple of sluttiness-inducing songs, I got to thinking.
Was the cop who started all this really so terribly wrong?
Remember Toronto police Const. Michael Sanguinetti’s immortal words at an Osgoode Hall safety seminar 16 months ago?
“You know, I think we’re beating around the bush here,” he told a group of 10 students.
“I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this, however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”
Const. Sanguinetti must wish he’d called in sick. Or brought an editor. I’d have changed a word or two.
He apologized, but his comment went global, with SlutWalks from Hong Kong to Trafalgar Square. In fact, this is now the height of SlutWalk season.
Brazil, that bastion of machismo, joined on the weekend, with rallies in eight cities.
Good for them all for decrying violence against women and for vilifying perps instead of victims.
But a flaw in the SlutWalk argument bugs me. Let me try to explain by analogy without having a SlutWalk show up outside my window.
There are no such marches on Manitoulin Island, where my cabin nestles. But there are lots of deer. And lots of hunters.
I am neither. But it is my right as any cabin-dweller to walk around in deer-coloured clothes if I wish.
I am not “asking for it.” I just have a closet full of deer-coloured clothes.
If a trigger-happy hunter then unloads his .303 at my ass, he will go to jail for manslaughter. And rightly so.
The fact I was dressed like Bambi is no excuse. That’s blaming the victim. A hunter is supposed to make sure before he shoots.
But this seems moot, since I’m still dead, my butt shot full of holes. I won’t be able to attend the BuckWalk.
Thus, my advice to travellers on Manitoulin is not to dress like a deer, despite your perfect right to do so.
So what’s the diff with advising women not to dress provocatively in certain iffy circumstances?
It’s not blaming the victim. It’s trying to keep her from being the victim in the first place.
I don’t mean at a nice, friendly rally with 1,000 other women. Or even at most places outside Saudi Arabia.
I mean, say, after midnight in the darker, boisterous corners of Toronto, where booze, hormones, and “male entitlement” often comingle, though every woman has the perfect right.
If the world were perfect, nothing bad would happen to her.
In reality, though, few rapists, molesters and pervs have read The Feminine Mystique or the Marquis of Queensbury Rules.
I’d tell my daughter the same thing.
“But you don’t have a daughter, you fool, you have a son,” a lady friend tells me at The Vic, before disowning me and my male chauvinism.
True, I don’t have a daughter. I’m not a woman. I’ve never even been ogled.
But I still think safety trumps feminism.