‘No’ means ‘no’

April 21, 2011

I’m sure most people who read this post are familiar with the old George M. Cohen song, “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy.”   Today Americans embrace the word “Yank’ as a term of pride.  But it didn’t start out that way.  It was a British insult for the American colonists until soldiers in the American Revolutionary War embraced it as a term of national pride.

Women today are doing the same thing with the word “Slut.” Have you heard about women marching in “SlutWalks”?   This is the new term for women protesting an age-old problem: Blaming the victim.  It started after the chief of police in Toronto recently told women law students in a safety forum that to avoid being raped, they should “Avoid dressing like sluts.”

As if the way females dress is the cause of criminal behavior.

In high school, I remember attending an unusual class that involved sitting in on a case in Detroit Recorder’s Court. A man was being tried for rape. I’ll never forget the testimony of the brave woman who took the stand and told her story to the court.  It was evening, she testified, and she was waiting at a bus stop with her five-year-old.  The defense attorney asked her what clothes she was wearing.  She had on a coat, and a pair of polyester slacks.  As if what she wore made any difference.

As those women law students discovered, women shouldn’t feel safe on college campuses where presumably people should know better than to blame the victim.  Yale University in Connecticut is under federal investigation for its alleged “sexually hostile environment” where male students have declared “No means Yes.”

I’m all for taking the venom out of the word “Slut.”  But for me, “No” will always mean “No”.



  1. Below is a link to a follow-up article. The article includes this gem of a quote from Siobhan Connors, 20, of Lynn, Massachusetts: “The event is in protest of a culture that we think is too permissive when it comes to rape and sexual assault.”

    From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110507/NATION/105070336/Marchers-to-fight-back-against-stigma-surrounding-sexual-assault#ixzz1LgQ3tjs9

  2. Here’s another article about Slut Walks, and a woman’s epiphany about not using that word against other women.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s