An important discussion came out of a debate about SlutWalk Singapore. The comments of Benjamin Cheah were deconstructed by Desiree Lim in the post above and here. I would like to add a few more points. First, SlutWalk is not only addressing predatory rapists, as Cheah suggests, but also law enforcement officials, one of which instigated the outcry in Toronto last year. Clearly (or hopefully), in the future, cops will think twice about telling women to avoid dressing like sluts. Furthermore, the movement may diminish the likelihood that rape victims will internalize the blame associated with being raped that may results in their decision not to report it. If even one would-be social rapist acknowledges the stupidity of the “she had it coming” mentality, then SlutWalk has made an impact so, in this respect, the movement has the potential to undermine victim-blaming in societies at large and promote the protection of women. Rape is such an emotive topic that it sometimes dissolves into a simple “us v. them,” “men v. women” dichotomy, which I will discuss in another post, but women also blame other women for being raped so I am indeed referring to societies at large and not just the male populations of societies. Women and men who participate in SlutWalk are making a statement that they reject “victim-blaming,” regardless of whether or not the movement convinces rapists of the heinousness of their actions.

This brings me to my second point. Cheah recognizes that the overwhelming majority of rapes are committed by social rapists (at least 85%), although he spends most of his time writing about how women can avoid predatory rape. Women are most vulnerable to social rapists because the victims may have trusted the rapists. As much as he wants to believe that women have intuitive “Rape Detectors,” as Lim calls them, this would amount to women assuming that every man is a rapist. This might, I stress might, protect her but is that really where we want to go with this? A woman would not likely trust a man that she suspected would rape her (it pains me to make such an obvious statement, but there it is). Moreover, the preconceived notions that society has about behaviors that are deserving and undeserving of rape, may contribute to the social rapist’s justifications for committing the crime. I agree with Lim that the rapist has agency while the storm does not, but part of the storm, in the case of victim-blaming, is the views of the larger society; for this reason, I disagree with Cheah that SlutWalk is not attempting to address these views. When we see victim-blaming as a justification for rape prior to the attack, then addressing justifications for rape are not “after the rape” issues, as Cheah states.SW picture

(Courtesy of http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/11/21/18700644.php)