From your pen / News / Opinion

Opinion: Toronto officer should stop dressing like such a ‘slut’ too.

By Emily Shelton

I remember the day my Aunt Linda reamed out my mom for saying that my sister looked like a “slut” in her outfit. We sat awkwardly around the Passover Seder dinner table, hands frozen in the act of passing the haroset, jaws dropped. We were annoyed by my mom’s comment but completely shocked by my aunt’s fury over it. Above all we surprised to witness our mother get a tongue lashing on our behalf.

My Aunt’s message was clear: girls can wear whatever we want. My clothing is not a problem; people who label me, put me down, and otherwise attack me because of what I choose to wear are the problem.

I wish that Constable Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto police officer from 31 Division who spoke at York University last month, had been at our Seder that night to get some learnin’ from my ass-kicking Aunt Linda. Sadly he was not, and has evidently spent a lifetime judging women for what they wear.

The Excalibur reported that at a campus safety information session at Osgoode Hall Law School, an officer suggested women can avoid sexual assault by not dressing like a “slut.”

This is a classic case of blaming the victim and Krystalline Kraus describes it neatly for us on rabble.ca.

The fact that the victim blaming is coming from a police officer is especially concerning. Police officers are in a position of great authority and influence. They are lauded role models whose exemplary values, and attitudes, and behavior should be emulated. This officer’s views shows that women unsafe because we continue to be blamed for violence against us by the very institutions that are meant to protect us.

Sexist attitudes woven deep within the legal system, at the basic ground level and higher, call into question not only women’s safety but also our opportunity for justice.

The Star reported that the police officer has issued a written apology, has been “disciplined” by the professional standards unit of the Toronto Police Service, and will receive further professional training.

However, this incident reveals that there is a need to examine the training that exists at the Toronto Police and ensure that myths and sexist attitudes about rape are properly addressed and corrected. Unfortunately, the Toronto Police Service likely intends to have this officer continue his duties as usual once all this ill-advised slut shaming “blows over.”

It’s ironic that this police officer was advising people on how to stay safe, since law enforcement is an occupation in which the risk of serious injury or death is constant. I’ve been told I am not supposed to say this, however, this police officer is risking victimization by traipsing around in that ostentatious police officer get-up.

After all, there’s a lot of hateration towards cops and people openly fantasize about acting violently towards them. And the fact that many people find men in uniform sexually attractive only further endangers him. Police outfits are a popular kink; you can buy sexy police uniforms at the Stag Shop, and it’s a popular choice for strip teases. By wearing a police uniform, this officer might as well be wearing a bull’s-eye because he is essentially inviting violence. Sorry Aunt Linda, but if the Toronto Police Service wants to ensure the safety of their officers, they should stop dressing them like such sluts.

Tables turned, officer! How do you like that?? It is equally as preposterous to suggest that any form of clothing, from police officers’ uniforms to short skirts and otherwise, invite or justify violence.

Women are not responsible for their attacks. Rapists and complacent police officers are.

You can follow Emily Shelton on Twitter @eshelts.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Opinion: Toronto officer should stop dressing like such a ‘slut’ too.

  1. I never thought of it that way, but I see your point Emily. It’s sad that we can’t just wear what we want and not automatically have a degrading sexual label, and as you point out police uniforms are no different. Yes they are covered up in the right areas, but how to I know they are not just a stripper in disguise.

  2. I had a bad experience with a neighbour a few years ago. Him and I had chatted outside our houses a few times, and he seemed nice so I told him we would hang out sometime. Afterward, I had some uncomfortable encounters with him and decided I wasn’t interested in pursuing a friendship.
    One night he came by my house and knocked at the door. A friend of mine told him I was unavailable. He then started pounding on my door and windows, looking in and screaming ‘I know she’s in there’. I called the police.
    After the officers came and dealt with my neighbour, I explained to them what had happened much like I just did. I was told by one of the officers, “This happens all the time…a young girl meets a guy, she hooks up with him, then she’s not interested anymore and he doesn’t pick up on her signals”.
    I had never said anything to imply I had ‘hooked’ up with my neighbour, or that there was even a romantic interest. The officer came to that conclusion on his own. However, even if I had, that does not invite aggressive and violent behavior. So much was wrong with that comment, I could go on and on.
    What’s even more unsettling than ignorant comments like these is ignorant thoughts like these. An officer can censor what he or she says, but if these are the thoughts running through their minds, we’re all in trouble!

    • – Great shoot!! You can tell she has it goin’ on with the out-fit choices and boy can you tell those kids know how to pose!!! Great petvceprises. GREAT captures and lights. You are the bomb, Kelly!08/21/2011 8:37 pm

    • Sometimes policemen just like to have a chat and to show off a bit. I had one guy who used to flag me down oclaniosalcy just to talk motorbikes. It must be horrid when no-one is glad to see you; I think it’s like when you work at home and keep the poor postman chatting.E

  3. @Madeleine It must have felt so frustrating that the police officer believed that there was “more to the story” that you weren’t telling them. The assumption that you had a previous relationship with this guy probably meant that they would not take the situation as seriously.

    I remember in highschool I went to a doctor to get a prescription for birth control pills. At the time I was not sexually active but decided that I wanted to be safely on the pill if I ever became so. The doctor refused to believe that I was not already sexually active, and continued talking to me as though I were. It was very belittling. What makes these men believe that they know “all about you”?

  4. That is a pretty interesting article, for sure.

    I just find it confusing how he apparently worked in Toronto, yet he is wearing an NYPD uniform? That doesn’t make much sense. But I still think he’s cute, regardless of where he works.
    But that statement was a dick move on his part, he sounds like an immature, loser male type of person. He had a lot of nerve saying that. But of course, I don’t blame him. There are stereotypes for everyone and everything now.
    He is so wrong on the fact that women attract predators by the way they dress.

    It can happen to anyone and it doesn’t matter how they dress. it’s about whether they look vulnerable or not. The last time I checked, I do not do drugs, alcohol or smoke. I do not bang random guys or sleep around like that. I do not own any skirts or dresses and I certainly have not resulted to criminal activity or doing messed up things. Yet, I’ve been in multiple situations where I get random weirdos coming up to me and ask for my phone number, ask inappropriate questions, follow me around the mall and ask me to go to their house when I don’t even know them! How immature do you have to be to do that? For realz!

    I guess they picked me because I am always without a buddy system, a single female alone. That makes someone vulnerable to predators and dangerous situations.

    It is clear that the cop needs more training. He has no right to judge when he doesn’t know you or anything about your life or your situation.

    But there are good people, bad people, normal people, messed up people, beautiful people and ugly people in every job, gender, age and ethnicity. So I do not know why people have to single out the cops all the time? It doesn’t really seem fair to me.

    After watching crime drama as much as I do, there are always going to be those situations where a doctor or a surgeon is supposed to be giving transplants to others. But the one waiting in line is a guy. But he decides he wants to give it to the younger, beautiful looking woman because the guy drank his liver to death so he killed his own liver.

    You never get people trolling on doctors when they do this stuff?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s