SlutWalks

Posted on June 21, 2011

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The all-time winner of the Foot in Mouth Award is local Toronto police official Michael Sanguinetti who spoke to an assembled crowd at Osgoode Law School to discuss public safety issues. According Ronda Bessner, an Assistant Dean at the school,  “He (Sanguinetti) said, ‘”I’m not supposed to say this, but to prevent being sexually assaulted, avoid dressing like sluts.’”

Let’s pause here for a moment.  I’m imagining the following encounter between Mr and Mrs Sanguinetti after he read the rough draft of his speech to her.

So, what did you think?

Mike, I think if you use the word “slut” in the context of rape and sexual abuse, you are an even bigger asshole than I thought.

But seriously, don’t you think women ask for it?  I mean what self-respecting male wouldn’t immediately yank out his schlong at the sight of young boobs in those tight little tops they wear?  You know, the ones that sort of stretch across their chests and you can see their—

Mike, this is exactly what I’ve been telling you for how many years?  You are an asshole.  Now, I was nice enough to listen to your speech.  Please sign the divorce papers so I can go back to my place.

According to Phoebe Connelly, a reporter with Yahoo News, “The outrage over that remark has since blossomed into a global protest movement aimed at changing such victim-blaming attitudes and drawing attention to violence against women. Welcome to the SlutWalks.”

The first SlutWalk was held in Toronto onApril 3, 2011.  Women started planning the event about 15 minutes after Sanguinetti made his remark.  While organizers expected 200-300 women to show up, 3000 women marched.  Since then, aided by social media, walks have taken root in many cities in the US and across the globe. 

As for Sanguinetti, he did apologize. “I made a comment which was poorly thought out and did not reflect the commitment of the Toronto Police Service to the victims of sexual assaults,” Sanguinetti wrote. “Violent crimes such as sexual assaults can have a traumatizing effect on their victims. . . . My comment was hurtful in this respect…I am embarrassed by the comment I made and it shall not be repeated. I apologize for any ill feelings my comment may have caused.”

The former Mrs Sanguinetti couldn’t be reached for comment.

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