when will the Toronto Police learn?

Once again, the Toronto Police are dispensing advice to young women about how they should dress to avoid assault or unwanted looks.

Undeterred by the public backlash last year, when an officer told York University students to avoid “dressing like sluts” if they want to avoid sexual assault, another officer has told a private school principal that “Students, especially females, should consider not wearing their school uniform when riding the TTC.”. This advice came in response to an incident where the suspect looked up the skirts of two girls on their way to school in uniform.

I’m really not sure how many times the Toronto Police need to be told that this rhetoric is entirely inappropriate. This is a classic case of victim-blaming, where assaulted or harassed women are blamed for ‘prompting’ their own attacks. I’m especially disturbed that this advice was doled out to school-age girls who are already impressionable and under a massive amount of peer pressure. With this advice, however well-meaning, the Toronto Police are setting the stage for girls who don’t follow this advice being blamed for their own attacks. With this kind of mentality, the police feel they’ve done their due diligence in informing the girls what can be done to prevent assault. What would actually help? Trying harder to catch the perverts.

It remains that no matter what these girls wear or how they act, there will always be people who feel the need to comment, stare or assault. Am I suggesting we stop taking precautions? Absolutely not. By all means, women (and all people) should be vigilant when traveling on the TTC or walking alone. But, instead of blaming the victim, why not move towards catching criminals and putting the onus on the offenders. The more we blame the victim, the less likely women and other victims of assault and harassment are to come forward and report the incident.

  • Ericaholgatepr

    That is truly sad. Not just for the Toronto Police, but society in general. What are we turning into that children (or the general public) cannot wear their UNIFORMS in a public place? Geez. Humanity is becoming a lost cause. How disappointing. 🙁

  • This is so sad. Our own civil servants do nothing to educate their selves about the things they are meant to deal with each day. This is the same reason why racial profiling exists – these police officers are ignorant to the true causes of crime and harassment in society. 

    Yes, women not wearing skirts can’t have their skirts looked up – I’m glad we solved the rape problem?

  • I feel like SUCH a hypocrite for saying this, but some teenage girls in school uniforms roll the waists of their skirts up to reveal practically indecent amounts of upper thigh. I’ve seen three pairs of underoos this month on the bus and I was NOT trying to catch a glimpse. I get that it’s wrong to suggest that girls are “asking for it” by wearing immodest clothing. That’s not even really the problem I have with girls who do this. My problem with it is – you’re beautiful even if your skirt hits your knees. Tying self image to revealing clothing is a recipe for disaster, and not (always) at the hands of predators.


  • Preach, Girl!