Another open letter to Krista Ford

Hey gurl,

I’m sure by now you’ve read Alice Moran’s letter to you. She said pretty much everything I wanted to say (with a wit that I won't be able to match), reminded you about your protection under the Charter of Rights and Freedom, explained why dressing like a “whore” does not invalidate that protection.

I’m writing to you now because I don’t accept your apology-that-wasn’t-really-an-apology and because I still don’t think you get it.

I agree that knowing how to protect oneself is a good thing for everyone, especially those of us that face a greater risk of violence, sexualized or otherwise. That being said, when I was assaulted, I was not placing myself in a position that would “compensate my safety”. I wasn’t rock climbing or jaywalking or using scissors without my parents’ supervision. I was in jeans and a tanktop, sharing a bed with what once was a good friend.

And even if he’d been a stranger, even if I’d been dressed like a whore, even if I’d been butt naked masturbating in a room full of men, I would not have been “placing myself in a position” to be assaulted because I’m the only one who gets to decide what happens to my body. Because I said “no”. Because the only ones responsible for violence are the people who commit it.

By the way, study after study of the people who commit sexualized violence has proven that what the victim was wearing is not a factor because – pay attention here – rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power.

And while we’re on the subject of being dressed like a whore, that slut-shaming silliness ain’t cute. For one thing, sex workers aren’t “asking for it” any more than the rest of us. For another, you are a woman. I’m sure you’ve experienced your share of gendered insults and body-policing and being judged and punished simply for being a woman in a public space. So be a woman: stop reinforcing the tired notion that people are entitled to our bodies if we don’t know our place and instead work to reclaim our autonomy.

Good luck,
Barbara