Twitter travesty

Krista Ford’s recent tweet telling women “not to dress like a whore” in order to avoid being sexually assaulted was undeniably inappropriate.

But, the media attention has focused far too heavily on the messenger instead of on the larger message.

On August 29th, Krista Ford, who is the 21-year old niece of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the daughter of Toronto City Councillor Doug Ford, sent her tweet in the wake of a series of sexual assaults that had recently occurred in Toronto’s Annex.

A public uproar over the tweet ensued, indicating the possibility for more discussion over issues of sexual assault.

As the close relative of two political figures, Ford should’ve known better than to send out that tweet.

However, this backlash became wrongfully and excessively focused on Ford’s public image. Specifically, the media targeted her past participation in Toronto’s Lingerie Football League team, in which women compete in bikini-sized outfits.

Instead of moving the debate forward, bringing Ford’s past to the forefront of the discussion only ended up slut-shaming Ford herself.

This is completely counterintuitive to creating a discourse that gives agency back to victims of sexual assault.

Ford’s tweet implied that a victim’s attire affects their susceptibility to being sexually assaulted — something that inevitably wrongfully places the blame on the victims.

Instead, she should have taken the cue from events like the SlutWalk, which highlight the need to place the blame on the perpetrators of sexual assault instead.

The media should be continuing the debate in this direction instead of focusing on what Ford chooses to do in her spare time. After all, Ford’s participation in a Lingerie Football league is, at the end of the day, irrelevant and unrelated to the issue at hand.

Ford’s statement demonstrates how many individuals still carry opinions which incorrectly place the blame on victims of sexual assaults instead of on the perpetrators.

It’s time for us to move the story away from her and to the issues that really matter.

Let’s focus on the message instead of on shooting the messenger.

— Journal Editorial Board

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