Strolling downtown late at night after Calgary's ICA CPTED conference we came across this young woman walking by herself in an alleyway. What struck us was not how she was dressed or that she was alone or that the alley was well lit. What amazed us was that she texted the entire time as she walked down an isolated alley quite oblivious to her environment.
It seemed risky.
Then I thought about the Slutwalk phenomenon launched after the victim-blaming remarks by Toronto police constable during a 2011 crime prevention presentation.
"I've been told I'm not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized," the constable commented to a group of women at York University.
He later apologized for his remarks but they led to city-wide (and later world-wide) annual Slutwalks.
The phenomenon has been both lauded and criticized by others, including feminists.
One motive for Slutwalks is the persistent and idiotic views on the topic. According to Huffington Post one Manitoba judge "condemned a rape survivor for wearing a tube top, no bra, high heels and makeup which he implied led her to sexual assault." The judge also implied "the assailant had succumbed to inviting circumstances."
That thinking is absurd. It is also still alive and well.
None of which changes the fact that mindless oblivion while texting late at night in an isolated alleyway is just not a good idea.