(Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault)
I will be on the Slutwalk to help make visible the many ways in which we women of colour have been abused by those who want to justify our rape and exploitation.
I am a mixed race lesbian pensioner who survived child abuse. When I was 14 my white racist stepfather called me a slag and a slut as he beat the c**p out of me because he’d caught me wearing lipstick – he’d been sexually abusing me since I was seven. He took that as his right, and my growing up was a threat to him.
Black women and girls have been raped by white men through centuries of slavery and colonialism. We continue to be raped today. In DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, Palestine, India, Iraq, Libya … millions of women have been raped as a result of Western governments and corporations exploiting our natural resources. As people fall prey to their corruption, and families and communities are destroyed by their proxy wars and arms dealings, women and children are most vulnerable. Our centre is full of asylum seekers fighting for the right to stay after fleeing rape and other torture by soldiers and others in authority. What clothes were we wearing to justify these atrocities?
In France the Slutwalk placards got it bang to rights when they said ‘We’re all chamber maids’. DSK’s victim was a Muslim with a head scarf. Were her clothes too provocative? Did he think she was a slut under cover, or not enough of a slut?
Domestic workers in our network in India, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago are organising against rape and exploitation by employers who think they are there to service them. They have formed trade unions and are participating in this month ILO conference to demand decent wages for their work and justice from rape.
By taking back words traditionally used to insult and diss us, Slutwalkers are following the tradition of the Black civil rights and other movements for justice.
I’ll be marching along with other Black and immigrant sisters, with white sisters, and with men who support us, to break down the barriers which divide us and pit us against each other. Either we are all sluts or none of us is.