Sometimes an organization doesn’t speak for its members when it speaks. Sometimes an organization (or someone at the top of it) says something that’s abhorrent to many or most or almost all of its members. That can happen.
There’s SlutWalk London for instance. Sarah Ditum asks what it’s doing lining up behind Julian Assange.
Oh dear, SlutWalk London. On Saturday you’re marshalling crowds of women in fishnets and bras to chant “my dress is not a yes” and promoting petitions insisting that the Home Office should prosecute rapists. Come Tuesday, you’re taking to Twitter to issue statements objecting to the extradition of Julian Assange to face rape charges in Sweden. Rapists should be prosecuted, but according to SlutWalk London, the fact that many who are accused of rape ultimately aren’t convicted means that this particular accused rapist shouldn’t be subject to due process. It’s an awkward position to adopt, and the most awkward thing of all is the way it conscripts those who joined the march to a cause that was never part of the prospectus.
SlutWalk London has inadvertently lined itself (and its unwitting supporters) up with an unappealing gaggle of rape apologists and victim blamers. It’s all very well for the statement to stress “We are not saying the women lied or that they should not get justice,” but lots of people who support Assange have said that women lie. If an anti-rape campaign must intervene on this case at all, surely it should be addressing those grotesque statements, not condoning the position of those who made them.
Sarah asked SlutWalk London to comment, but they
made it very clear that they didn’t want to comment, or discuss the issues here is any way.
It’s odd. We’re used to seeing organizations pitch women overboard the instant they think some other issue or cause or problem is more important, but it’s surprising to see a women’s organization doing that.