What A Slut

By Georgia Maclean, Field Intern

‘Sluts’, we tell ourselves, are women who invite violence, and often, that invitation is answered.” – Chloe Angyal1

No one wants to be called or thought of as a slut. So what happens when something that only happens to “dumb sluts” happens to you?

I got lucky. I wasn’t raped. The last thing I remember was the bar, and then in the morning I was in a hotel room I’d never seen before. As I left, all I thought was “Why did he roofie me?”

Shame was all I could feel.

Shame on me for going to a bar and not watching my drink closely enough.

Shame on me for letting myself be led to a mysterious hotel.

Shame on me for talking to people at this bar. Shame on me for not being able to remember.

I felt like a “dumb slut.”

I never told most of the 13 girls I lived with at the time what happened, even though I knew they were going to visit the same city and probably the same bar. I never warned them because I knew they would think I was a “dumb slut.”

My head was spinning with justifications and rationalization for how to explain to them that the same thing that happened to me could easily happen to them, too. It just wasn’t worth it — they would think of me as a “dumb slut” no matter what I said or how much I cried about it.

I realize now that by not telling them I was not only putting them in danger, but I was also taking responsibility for this happening to me and giving power to the thought that I was lucky that I wasn’t raped. I realize now that I can’t possibly take responsibility for my actions that night — because I can’t remember them.

Many women place so much emphasis on being safe when we go out at night that when a crime is committed against us we feel that we must have done something wrong. We forgot one of the rules. Women have to live by these rules to keep us safe from sexual assault at bars, at parties, walking on a dark street or wherever, because of bastards like the guy who roofied me.

Women who break these rules, they are the “sluts.” Like the girl who was so drunk she said yes, or the girl who didn’t wear underwear under her dress, or the girl who made out with some guy, or the girl who came by herself to the party, or the girl who put her drink down.

I admit, I would have thought that a girl that did any of these things was a “dumb slut,” until this happened to me. Now I realize that no matter how hard you try to follow the supposed rules, you can still get in trouble.

When you call someone else a “slut,” you are immediately classifying yourself as “not a slut” and therefore somehow protected from sexual assault. We need to stop using this word to describe each other so that we can all come to the realization that sexual assault can happen to anyone, and to make sure that when this happens to a woman or girl, they don’t feel responsible. No one should have to feel lucky they didn’t get raped. When things like this happen — which are crimes, by the way — women should feel empowered to report them and not afraid of getting reprimanded for “slutty” behavior.

1 “SlutWalk Protests: A Dress Is Not a Yes – CSMonitor.com.” The Christian Science Monitor – CSMonitor.com. 13 June 2011. Web. 05 July 2011. http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2011/0613/SlutWalk-protests-A-dress-is-not-a-yes.

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