Thanks for the Hot Tip, Officer Garbagebrain

[Trigger warning for victim-blaming in association with sexual violence.]

Students and staff at Osgoode Hall Law School are demanding an apology and explanation from the Toronto Police Service after one of their officers suggested women can avoid sexual assault by not dressing like a "slut."

On Jan. 24, a campus safety information session was held at Osgoode Hall, where members from York security and two male officers from Toronto police 31 Division handed out safety tips to community members.

Ronda Bessner, who attended the session, remembered being surprised by what the officer suggested to women.

"One of the safety tips was for women not to dress like 'sluts.' He said something like, 'I've been told I shouldn't say this,' and then he uttered the words," said Bessner, Osgoode assistant dean of the Juris Doctor Program. "I was shocked and appalled. I made contact with the police [...] and we've asked for a written apology and an explanation."
That officer ought to lose his fucking job. Given the fact that he explicitly said he's been told not to talk victim-blaming shit but decided to do it anyway, he's essentially indicated that sending him for awareness-raising isn't going to help. Not only is making public statements like this a deterrent to survivors coming forward to report sexual violence, but what reassurance can the public have that this officer will rigorously pursue cases in which he deems the victim to have done something he erroneously believe provoked/justified the attack? None. Fire his ass.
Toronto police spokesperson Constable Wendy Drummond confirmed the incident has been brought to the attention of senior officials and is currently under investigation.

"[This is] definitely something that we take very seriously. This matter [...] has been brought to the attention of our professional standards unit and is something we will be looking into," she said.

However, she could not confirm whether Toronto police intend to issue an official apology.

"We are of the position that if these comments were made, it is definitely something that we will [act on]," she added.
I love the implication that the staff at Osgoode Hall Law School might have conspired to make the whole thing up. False rape apology charges! You know how women are. He said, she said, and all that.

The irony of this failful response is rich indeed.


Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus