There's been a lot of discussion about the naked ignorance of some of our brethren south of the border when it comes to the issues of sexual assault and human biology, but it seems that some people in Canada really know how to step in it, in a proverbial sense, as well.
Krista Ford, niece of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and daughter of Councillor Doug Ford, spoke out with some, ahem, advice for women on how to keep themselves safe. There have been a series of rapes recently in the Annex area of Toronto, so naturally, women in the neighbourhood are on guard. It's also natural that another woman, especially with the high profile of being the Mayor's niece, would want to reach out at a time of such tremendous fear, and give some comfort and words of support.
Let's get the obvious out of the way: mace is a prohibited weapon in Canada. You can't carry it on you. It's only a little less worse than walking around with a loaded gun. So there's that.
But Krista Ford's final piece of advice, "don’t dress like a whore," means somewhat less than nothing when you realize that it comes from a former member of the Toronto Triumph, the Big Smoke's team in the Lingerie Football League. Of course, Ford was only a member briefly, and any women is entitled to pursue any activity she wants, even if it involves putting on lacy underwear and shoulder pads to play football in front of hundreds of desperate men, but I'd be fascinated to know what Ford's definition of dressing like a whore is.
As expected though, the reaction to Ford's comment was swift and mired in outrage, a fact compounded to the nth degree with it having been made on Twitter. But in one thoughtful, considered, and surprisingly humorous response to Ford's comments, Alice Moran, one of the victim's in the recent string of sexual assaults wrote, "I believe you have a right to your body and regardless of how you do or don't dress it, I believe you have a right to respect and personal security. I guess that's the key difference in our thinking. You could wear a T-shirt that says 'I'm literally asking for it,' and I'd still advocate for your security."
Ford's comments also drew flack from Slut Walk Toronto, an organization that formed after a Toronto Police Officer told York University students that "not dressing like sluts" was one way to avoid becoming a victim of sexual assault.
In a statement, Slut Walk Toronto said, "What Krista said was problematic for many reasons, including placing the onus for preventing sexual assault on a potential victim, pointing to clothes as a reason or inciting factor of sexual assault (time and time again proven to be untrue), and shaming survivors with 'don't dress like a whore'. When anyone says that 'dressing like a whore' makes someone liable to be raped, they're blaming existing survivors for their own victimization."
By this morning, Krista Ford had done the proverbial (though digital) walk of shame, Tweeting that “I didn’t mean to cause such an alarm and I apologize if I did. I just want women to be safe.”
So that's it. Case closed. Really nothing more to say on the matter, except that, in my experience, any ignorance that escapes a person's mind and manages to get posted on a very public forum, like Twitter, is likely only the tip of the iceberg. That, and we like to think ourselves more advanced than our American friends in some areas, there are some people on this side of the border that help straighten the curve. And finally, despite how far we've come, there still seem to be some misguided people out there who think that some women are "asking" to be assaulted. Even, perplexingly, former lingerie football players.