Oxford SlutWalk in Facebook flame war

The Oxford SlutWalk Facebook group was the subject of controversy on Wednesday when “offensive” comments were deleted by moderators.

Some commentors posted links to the Ann Summers website accompanied by offensive comments and, according to Nicola Sugden, a student at Balliol, “made fun of the aims and nature of the event and were therefore considered offensive by most attendees”.

Sarah Pine, one of the administrators of the group, stressed that they had no problems with Ann Summers and added, “there were a mixture of comments, most aimed at trivialising the objectification of women. Some also used the word slut in a pejorative sense. I removed these because they threatened the safe space, trivialising sexual assault and rape apology.”

However, some were annoyed at the deletion of comments. Alex Bramham said, “What you meant to say was ‘Don’t bother typing, I’ll just delete it’.” Another user, Jamie Element posted, “Make an event to promote your opinion, don’t let others have theirs. Good job.”

Sugden, however, agreed with Pine, saying, “Sarah and the WomCam committee have been doing an excellent job of turning the page into a ‘safe space’, removing offensive content while facilitating discussion of the more controversial aspects of Slutwalk and making the event as inclusive as possible.

“Members of the Women’s Campaign are very open to discussion and debate on gender issues – it’s what we do, it’s what we enjoy doing. Trolling, however, is not debate: it is a waste of everyone’s time and distracts attention from the important issues we want to raise and tackle.”

SlutWalk, organised by the OUSU Women’s Campaign, will be held on Saturday 19th May and will see protestors walking through the streets of Oxford to show their resistance against the prevalence of sexual assaults against women and victim blaming.