The idea is in response to some comments by a cop giving advice on personal safety to students in Toronto, Canada.
"You know, I think we're beating around the bush here," Michael Sanguinetti began, blandly enough, as he addressed the 10 students who turned up for the pep talk. Then he said: "I've been told I'm not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised."This was taken as blaming the victim for the crime of rape, and the response was Slutwalking.
Of course, and this shouldn't need saying, but I'll say it anyway, any man who assaults a woman, sexually or otherwise, is committing both a crime and a sin, and is responsible before God and the courts for that.
But to infer from that obvious proposition that women and girls are therefore absolved of any responsibility for their actions is absurd.
If I leave my wallet on the dashboard of my car, leave the car unlocked with the windows open, and go for a long walk, and somebody pinches my wallet, then that person is responsible for his actions: he has committed a theft and if caught will rightly be punished.
However, it does not seem to me to be out of order for the police to advise me not to do such an idiotic thing, and after the event, to point out that I was, to some extent, responsible for what happened. That does not in any way reduce the culpability of the thief - but I can't reasonably say that I had no responsibility whatever for the theft.
In the realm of sexual behaviour, we have further complications. Our clothes and our behaviour sends out messages: a woman who dresses in a way which she knows will send out a message that she is sexually available does have some responsibility for that. We also know that men are far more susceptible to visual stimulation in the field of sexual arousal than women. The data on pornography alone verifies that. Some women simply don't seem to get that; and some do and enjoy provocative teasing...
So I will continue to teach my daughters to dress and behave modestly, and that if they dress and behave like sluts then they will have some responsibility if men take that at face value...