Fighting the Slutwalk=Psychologizing the Criminal

Life is not normal again, especially after rape. Life is not normal, when a question of whether to punish a perpetrator of rape is on the public agenda, because rape victim was drunk or was wearing sexually suggestive short skirt. Life is not normal, when a woman has to censor her desire of wearing a sexy skirt, because her wearing it could be interpreted as her willing to get raped. No. “Nobody wants to get raped. Not ever.”

The art of psychologizing the criminal to pretend that life is normal again, even after rape, is gaining popularity in modern society, because simple answers are seductive, especially when it comes to shifting the blame on somebody else. When it comes to rape, “she brought it upon herself”/“was asking for it” allegory is akin to the post-traumatic stress syndrome myth of the Vietnam veterans returning from their lost war. The production of an image for a Vietnam war veteran as an emotionally unstable individual who has “serious readjustment problems” is similar to the production of an image for a victim of rape. To get rid of political sense of the issue, psychological problems are cited in the former case, whereas to get rid of criminal essence of the issue, psychological explanations offered in the latter case as well.

When it comes to holding to stereotypes, two troubling trends that hold their ground stand out. First, fighting for women’s rights with the help of stereotypical thinking that tarnishes them. Second, rape victim blaming being not only a cultural stereotype, but also a stereotype that has a potential of gaining legal power. Take, for instance, an example of Indonesian government that forbade women from wearing short skirts, mainly because “it would communicate the wrong kind of message.”

When it comes to achieving a goal, the question of means could easily determine its righteousness. However, in the case of Slutwalk and women victimization stereotypes used for the promotion of rape awareness messages, when it comes to harm brought by the means, self-objectification means of the Slutwalk is not as harmful as self-stereotypization/self-blaming means used in public service awareness advertising, such as the U.S. “Date rape” campaign. And one more thing, the messages the Slutwalkers have to communicate are important in fighting for women rights. See you rallying on the streets of Toronto on May 25th.

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