Target: Krista Ford, daughter of Councilor Doug Ford and niece of Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto
Goal: Demand apology for suggesting women not “dress like a whore” to avoid being sexually assaulted
Toronto police recently held a news conference to warn female citizens about a series of sexual assaults that had been taking place in two Toronto neighborhoods. Within an hour of the conference, Krista Ford, a relative of several Toronto public figures (though not a politician herself) tweeted her advice, which included suggestions to carry mace and not “dress like a whore”, accompanied by the tag “#
DontBeAVictim”. In Toronto, mace is considered a restricted weapon, meaning it would not be legal for most women to follow Krista’s advice. Moreover, the tweet engages in victim blaming by inferring that a woman who dresses like a whore is partly to blame for her own sexual assault.
The international ‘Slutwalk’ campaign, which aimed to make it clear that sexual assault was never acceptable and never the victim’s fault no matter what the circumstances, was started last summer when a police officer in Toronto suggested women not dress like sluts to avoid being victimized. If Krista is aware of this history, or aware of how her tweet buys into a narrative that blames women for their own assaults, she has showed no sign of it. Since the controversy following the tweet, she has declined requests for comment and changed her Twitter to private, making it impossible for the offending comment to be seen.
As attacks on women’s health and autonomy are mounting, comments like these cannot be ignored. Ask Krista to apologize for the tweet and acknowledge what she said as the victim blaming that it was.
Dear Krista Ford,
I am writing to you in response to a recent Tweet you made following a press conference by Toronto police warning about a series of local sexual assaults. Your advice to Toronto women, as given in the tweet, included instructions to “carry mace” and “don’t dress like a whore”. To the first, it is important to note that the city of Toronto considers mace a prohibited and restricted weapon, meaning it would be illegal for most Toronto women to carry it. The second suggestion is more disconcerting. Suggesting women not dress like a whore to avoid being raped infers that a woman who does dress “like a whore” and is sexually assaulted is partially responsible for that assault. It shames women for their personal choices of clothing, and exonerates perpetrators as being unable to control themselves.
Sexual assault is never, ever the fault of the victim, no matter what she is dressed like, where she is, or whether she is drunk. Please apologize for your comment and make it clear that you are aware that victim-blaming cannot not be tolerated.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Flickr via creatrixtiara