Is there a need for SlutWalk Singapore?

SlutWalk will be coming to Singapore if everything goes according to plan. It is planned for 4 December 2011, 4pm at Hong Lim Park. There will also be workshops on relevant issues on 3 Dec.

For the uninitiated, SlutWalk is a protest march against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman’s appearance. It started in Toronto, Canada, where a police officer suggested that to remain safe, “women should avoid dressing like sluts.” The first SlutWalk took place on 3 April 2011 in Toronto and started to spread worldwide.

I can understand why the people in Canada organise SlutWalk to protest against the police officer’s comment. But do we have this problem in Singapore? Do we blame the rape victim for wearing revealing clothes?

Here’s a quote from the SlutWalk Singapore Facebook page.

We are proudly taking a stand against sexual violence and the bully tactics of victim-blaming, as we are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. This is not just a “women’s issue” nor is it just a “men’s issue”; it is everyone’s issue. We seek to challenge the thinking that it is acceptable to live in a victim-blaming society as we do, where we are taught “don’t get raped,” instead of, “don’t rape”.

People who don’t live in Singapore might think that we have the culture of blaming the rape victim.

Do we have this problem in Singapore? Not that I know. Even if there is any, it is most likely a few individual and not a widespread issue. So why is there a need for SlutWalk Singapore?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against free speech or protest. In fact, I strongly feel that we need more freedom of speech and rights to protest. But are we protesting because it is an issue in Singapore or just because it looks cool and others are doing it? Are we just following a trend?

If you seriously think that victim blaming is a major issue in Singapore, then please go ahead and protest at Hong Lim Park on 4 Dec. I just hope you are not going because it is trendy to do so. I’ll end this blog post with a video from Penn And Teller: Bullshit!

13 Responses to 'Is there a need for SlutWalk Singapore?'

  1. kirsten says:

    I’m sure that there is this issue in Singapore. There is a section of the Evidence Act in Singapore that says that a woman’s sexual history can be dug up and used against her in rape/sexual assault trials, which is clearly an aspect of victim blaming. There was recently a public consultation regarding the amendment of the Act to do away with this, following engagement with women’s rights groups such as AWARE.

    There is even the possibility that a woman’s online postings could be used against her: http://www.aware.org.sg/2011/07/gang-rape-blog/

    There are also other huge issues such as the fact that a wife cannot bring rape charges against her husband – I suppose this comes from an assumption that once you marry the man you effectively give him consent and 24/7 access to your body for the rest of your life?

    I often come across people saying things that in themselves might not be harmful, but betray a sentiment that is either victim-blaming or extremely close to it. Things like, “Why are you wearing that? Are you asking for trouble? Do you want men to stare?” or “Don’t smile so randomly at people, you might get raped.”

    Beyond that there’s also slut-shaming, judging women by the way they dress or the sexual choices they make, making assumptions. All this can be taken as part of SlutWalk’s message, and trust me, these issues (sadly) exist in Singapore.
    kirsten´s last blog post ..What being a journalist means to me.

  2. ashley says:

    victim-blaming can come in many forms not just from the police. it comes from the public (remember the young woman who was groped at in a Sentosa beach party?) or the presiding judge over the rape case of a woman (remember the what judge said when passing sentence to the rapist? he said something to the effect that the woman has a history of ‘immoral behaviour’). victim-blaming can also happen just inside our minds although we may speak very politically correct about it.

    i reckon Slutwalk Singapore is not acting like a rebel without a cause but it is akin to a voice that starts the ball-rolling to open up discussion and challenge our mindsets.

    so let’s not say too quickly and complacently Slutwalk Singapore is not going to work here, instead, let’s enjoy the various and different sort of social movements in Singapore. i am sure we will all grow and learn from them.

  3. Eve says:

    Just a bunch of hippies.

  4. kim says:

    Slutwalk may open the minds of narrow-minded people who blames women of the crimes committed by bastards. It’s time to be more aware of what is happening to our community.
    kim´s last blog post ..My Arowana Is Not Eating No Matter What I Do !!!

  5. j says:

    in almost any dispute involving a man and woman, it is always assumed that the man is at fault, regardless of what actually happened. So victim blaming is present, in that sense.

  6. Maya Phoenix says:

    Just to add on to what Kirsten said, victim-blaming exists everywhere in this world. You just can’t run away from it.

  7. SP says:

    I wasn’t attending, but at least I understood what it stood for and why it’s taking place instead of exhibiting my ignorance in a trendy controversial post. Ironically, you are a good example of why there is a need to make such a statement after all. You and the rest of the guys who wanted to know what the rape victim was wearing.

  8. dk says:

    SP: wow, that’s stereotyping.

  9. SP says:

    I guess it wasn’t stereotyping to say people who are attending are simply joining a trend instead of a cause.

    Also, I actually meant ‘the guys (and women) who do victim-blame’ (I’ve heard them) and ‘you’ (who assume there’s no such problem here), make up the reason SlutWalk is right to happen here. Might’ve phrased that wrong but I didn’t proofread.

  10. Wai Leong says:

    The protest itself is unimportant. What irks people is the police reaction. Why did they ask for permits, despite the fact that they want to hold it at Speakers’ corner? Why the unprecedented worry from the police?

  11. Lim S L says:

    I agree that a woman’s appearance AND BEHAVIOUR is no justification for sexual violence.

    I do not think it is necessary to organise a protest against the Canadian Police officer’s comments. His advice is sensible. Why should anyone twist his words to imply “victim-blaming”?

    It is just like a religious extremist taking offense to any little comment about their religion.

    There is no need to take Feminism to this extent.

  12. Juliet says:

    So now, we are bothered about how this event might stain Singapore’s image, but not actually caring about how this event can represent so much more? In fact, I think events such as the Slutwalk are needed even more, after reading this post, because this just shows how ignorant we can be regarding this issue. Victim blaming, slut shaming and rape culture are prevalent everywhere in the world, yes including Singapore. If you don’t believe it, just Google any of those phrases and add Singapore to the end. You’ll find plenty. Yet, people either do not know about it, or perhaps even perpetuate it! If you think that these kinds of things only happen in countries such as India, then I guess there really is a need for a Slutwalk and other similar campaigns in Singapore.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks
  1. […] – Everything Also Complain: Aushwitz bar named after a site of genocide – Dee Kay Dot As Gee: Is there a need for SlutWalk Singapore? – TOC: Fundamentals in Public Engagement 2.0 – GovCamp […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

CommentLuv badge