I though the concept of Slutwalk was cool when I first heard about it. Taking back derogatory terms for sexual liberalization? Awesome! Sign me up for SlutWalk NYC for October 1. I also followed them on Tumblr to remind myself of the date and get updates of any changes.
But I was not happy to receive an invite to the Dominuque Strauss-Kahn Protest, which seemingly presumes his guilt in the sexual assault case and labels the accuser as “the victim.” Slutwalk’s characterization that DSK was treated lightly by the press this whole time is wrong. Their claim that DSK paid people off for character assassination of the victim is unfounded. They cited no evidence in that claim, presented no rebuttals to all the contradicting evidence, and are walking on a dangerous presumption of guilt that is against the spirit of our entire legal system.
Reuters’ Anya Schiffrin makes excellent points in her blog about other organizations presenting their visceral emotional reactions rather than talking about the facts:
Much of the reporting has been done in haste and that’s too bad. One example was The New York Times’ piece on the sexist culture of the IMF which conflated rape, sexual harassment and work place discrimination against women with the mundane subject of affairs at the office. By combining these four different subjects, the Times muddied the subject without adding much to our understanding.
By creating this fringe protest, SlutWalk NYC is undermining both its credibility and primary objectives. A single court case with dubious evidence is hardly a paradigm of “rape culture” worthy of a protest.
I hope SlutWalk’s home-based Toronto organization doesn’t associate itself with its New York City satellite organization’s poor choice in politics.
[Edit: I wrote a related post, On Feminism and Gender Egalitarianism, partially as a response to comments below. And another post commenting upon a race-issues blog which criticized a sign at Slutwalk NYC.]