Toronto cop reportedly tells students to avoid sexual assault by not dressing “like a slut”

Toronto cop reportedly tells students to avoid sexual assault by not dressing “like a slut”

A chair at Osgoode Hall (Image: Tsar Kasim) 

A word of advice to women from a Toronto police officer: to avoid sexual assault, don’t dress “like a slut.” This according to York University’s community newspaper, Excalibur, which is reporting that the cop made his comment during a January 24 campus safety information session at, of all places, Osgoode Hall. The assistant dean of the Juris Doctor Program Ronda Bessner remembers being surprised by the officer’s comments. “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 uttered the words,” she told Excalibur.

Bessner contacted 31 Division to demand an explanation and apology, but was met with little response. Toronto police spokesperson Constable Wendy Drummond confirmed to Excalibur that the incident had been brought to the attention of senior officials and that it is a matter the police are taking very seriously. Drummond, however, could not confirm if the police intended to issue an official apology.

Bessner says that the officer’s comment points to a wider issue of blaming victims in sexual assault cases. “I think the problem with the constable’s conduct was that he was blaming the victim… He’s also not making victims feel safe to go to the police,” she says. Considering the serious issue of sexual assault on Toronto’s campuses, perhaps the officer in question should have kept his mouth shut on this one.

• Don’t dress like a slut: Toronto cop [Excalibur]

UPDATE: According to the CBC, the officer mentioned in this post will issue an apology for his comments and has been disciplined by the Toronto Police. (February 17 at 2:37 p.m.)