The SlutWalk Debate-Charlotte MacDowell



Heather Jarvis, a student here at York was furious after reading an article in the school’s newspaper. The article was centered around a Toronto Police officer who gave women a safety tip, urging them not to dress like “sluts” if they don’t want to be victimized. Jarvis reached out to Sonya Benette, York Grad Student via online. The two banded together, along with the help of a few of their peers, and developed a walk for women to protest. They called it the “SlutWalk”. It is a perfect combination of a jab at the police officer, and their aim to reclaim the word slut.The walk is an inclusive event to end the stigma and end rape culture. Since its development in 2011, there are SlutWalks not only all over Canada but in the US too. Even celebrity Amber Rose has promoted the walk shared her story and organizes her own in LA. But some people don’t see it as an event that holds a purpose or actually helps rape victims at all. Well, Lauren Southern of released a video entitled “There is no rape culture in the West”. In which she attended a SlutWalk in Vancouver and asked participants to prove that we live in a rape culture. She argued that because rapists don’t get high fived, because they lose their job, their family, they lose respect, they go to jail. Where as third world countries they don’t have the proper laws to prevent sexual assault or sexual misconduct or violence, they are the ones who live in a real rape culture. But if that’s true, how come only six of every 100 cases of sexual assault are reported to the police? (according to stats canada) There must be some fear of negative repercussion from society. Why are we telling girls to dress a certain way so they don’t provoke someone to rape them? Why do we say “don’t get raped” instead of “don’t rape”? I think asking this question is key to understanding the kind of society we are truly living in. Let’s find out what a rape culture is and explore the society we live in. There is more to this story.

Annotated Bibliography

Miller, Sarah. "Police officer's remarks at York inspire 'SlutWalk' ". The Toronto, 17 March 2011, Accessed 19 January 2018.  

This Toronto Star article is a great introduction to the history of how the SlutWalk came to be. It includes its developers, the reason why it was created and direct quotes from the women who were outraged by the officer's remarks. It has provided me with a great starting point in my research. It explains Jarvis, one of the founders, the goal to reclaim the word slut. This brought up a bigger issue I will be exploring through further research, that is, can women truly reclaim the word slut? What qualifies as successfully reclaiming a once derogatory word.

Popular Source

Southern,Lauren. "There is No Rape Culture in the West". The, 9 June 2015, . Accessed 19 January 2018. 

This video shares a more conservative view regarding the SlutWalk and its effectiveness. Southern, the journalist argues that there is a lack of rape culture in Western society and the walk is a form of "fear mongering".  She interviews the SlutWalk supporters and rebuttals their arguments in at times childish ways. However, she emphasized that the walk is not preventing rapes from happening. This is a valid statement but will allow me to create vignettes arguing the SlutWalk's benefits and downfalls to make the listener further their opinion about the walk.  

Popular Source

"Myths and Facts of Sexual Assault, Canada.", Accessed January 28, 2018.

This is a simple and short article regarding what is commonly misunderstood about sexual assault. I believe this will be important throughout my research in defining sexual assault in all its forms. Also, i believe it would help to make points to argue a more conservative perspective and make the listener consider sexual assault differently. 

Statistical Source

Conroy, Shana and Cotter, Adam. "Self-reported Sexual Assault in Canada, 2014." Statistics Canada, July 11 2017, Accessed January 28, 2018. 

Like the above article, this provides stats on those in Canada who have been assaulted. I plan to use this and find if there are any stats for third world nations on sexual assault and how they differ. This is just basic research to further educate my audience.

Statistical Source

"Facts and Figures: Ending Violence Against Women." UN, Accessed February 4, 2018. 

This source provides stats on women and violence, sexual violence across the globe. This information can be used to argue that rape and violence is a global problem, rather than only prevalent in certain countries. It also includes stats on laws and those who are more vulnerable to attacks. Overall, an eye opening article I consider to be valuable to exploring rape culture.  

Statistical Source

"What is Rape Culture?" Accessed February 4, 2018. 

This is the beginning of my attempt to define rape culture. This source provides examples of what normalizes rape, such as advertisements or jokes. The site also provides links to how the entertainment industry excuses sexual violence against women regularly. Though it is only a basic explanation, the site provides great building blocks to further my investigation.

Statistical Source

Butchwald, Fletcher and Roth. Transforming a Rape Culture. Milkweed Editions, 1993.

A collection of essays edited by Butchwald, Fletcher and Roth on the rape culture that is not only in North America but the world. The essays provide definitions to rape culture and provide an abundance of statistics on rape globally.  

Scholarly Source

Julie M. Stankiewicz and Francine Rosselli. Women as Sex Objects and Victims in Print Advertisements. Sex Roles, vol. 58, no. 7, 2008, pp. 579-589.

A research article that explore how women are portrayed through advertisements. Some results of the experiment are shocking, but just exemplify how we as society normalize sexual violence, and violence against women in everyday media. Could this be proof that we do in fact live in a rape culture?

Scholarly Source  

Diana E. H, Russel. Pornography and Rape: A Casual Model. Political Psychology, vol. 9, no.1, 1999, pp. 41-73

Looks at the impact of pornography on our society and how various categories of depict sexual violence as pleasurable to both the male and the female. Provides stats and explores a theoretical model created by the author to prove that pornography is impact when it come to sexual violence.

Scholarly Source

Fantz,Ashley, "Outrage over 6-month sentence for Brock Turner Stanford Rape Case". CNN, 7 June 2016. . Accessed 18 February 2018.

I plan to use this to explore how rape culture has been overlooked in many places, like college campuses. By exploring how he was given such a short sentence, I will be able to explain how this is only supporting the rape culture that we live in.

Popular Source

Rachel E. Morgan, Ph.D., and Grace Kena, "Criminal Victimization, 2016". U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics. December 2017. Accessed 22 March 2018.  

This government document provides statistics regarding rape crime versus rape crimes not reported to police. This helps give me overall insight into how rape is addressed by society and provides information regarding how race affects these statistics. 

Government Source

Fatima Nazar and Kamiar Kouzekanani. "Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women in Kuwait". Middle East Journal Vol. 61, No. 4 pp. 641-654. Accessed 24 February 2018. 

This article provides insight on the opinion of Lauren Southern, of which I am responding to in my podcast. It provides data on different attitudes one may have on violence against women, mainly negative and shows percentages of how people in Kuwait responded to those notions.  

Scholarly Source

Ridgway, Shannon, " 25 Everyday Examples of Rape Culture." Everyday Feminism. 10 March 2014,  . Accessed 4 March 2018.

This source is a popular source that provides everyday examples of the rape culture we live in. It could be simple things that many people do like rape jokes or cat calling. I will use this in my piece to make listeners think critically about how the act on a day to day basis. 

Popular Source 

Gray,Susan. "Exposure to Pornography and Aggression toward Women: The Case of the Angry Male" Oxford Journals. Vol. 29, No. 4. Acessed 4 March 2018. 

I will use this to further my argument that pornography is one of the easily accessible influences of  the normalization of rape culture. It focuses on research conducted since the 1970's that provides insight to whether or not hard-core pornography has influence on how the treat women. It was inconclusive whether a correlation was shown that men were arouse by rape but shown some evidence of men being aroused while watching/listening to hard core pornography.

Scholarly Source