Please donate here to SlutWalk London 2012! We still need to raise over £2,000 for the sound system, permits etc. Even a couple of quid will go a long way. Donating will mean you’re helping put on a really amazing and empowering event. Donations are via PayPal, which will keep your details safe. Please share this round!
To those who have been asking, as soon as we have a date for the walk we will put it on this website. The sooner we have the money we need the sooner we will know, so please donate!
For anyone who wants to share it round the donate link is http://bit.ly/slutwalk2012donate
Please put it out on twitter, facebook, email, etc.
Slut Means Speak Up are making a film against victim blaming.
The Slutwalk London team are making a film to change attitudes about sexual assault, counter victim-blaming and provide legal and practical advice for rape survivors. The current ‘advice’ given to women by the police and teachers focuses on our behaviour: not to go out by ourselves, get drunk or wear ‘slutty’ clothes. We are looking for people who have experienced sexual assault to come on camera to talk about the blame they experienced, whether from the police, people close to them or from themselves - and how they have overcome and fought against it. Not only will this force people to change their views about who is to blame for rape, but it will inspire others who have been silenced and victimised.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, or if you have challenged victim blaming in any way - for example, by speaking up against victim blaming by your friends, teachers or the police - we would like to hear from you and will try our best to include you in the film. Please don’t hesitate to contact us; everyone’s voices are welcome and we would like to include as many different experiences as possible.
Are you interested? The next step…
Please contact us at [email protected] to talk about participating. This will help us see how we can include you in the film. We can give you more information about the film, and arrange a time and date for filming.
You will not have to reveal your name, age or any other personal details. The interviews will take around 10 minutes; if you feel uncomfortable at any point we will stop filming and there is no pressure on you to say anything you don’t want to say. We will need you to write down a few basic points of what you’re going to say beforehand, and to travel to a location in London to be filmed (if this is very difficult for you we could help with travel costs or travel to where you live instead). If you are uncomfortable being on camera there are ways in which we can make you anonymous, such as filming you from behind or as a silhouette.
Are you from an organisation?
We are also planning to include legal and practical advice in the film. This will include basic pointers on what victims can do after an attack to feel safer, advice on going to the police and on taking a case to court. If you are from an organisation (including student organisations) which supports victims of sexual assault, whether you provide counselling, crisis help or legal advice, please contact us and we will do our best to include your experience and advice in the film.
We are making this film together with Women Against Rape, Black Women’s Rape Action Project and the English Collective of Prostitutes.
Protest: Just say no to Dorries’ abstinence education bill!
On 20 January 2012, Nadine Dorries’ proposed amendment to sex education, Bill 185, which suggests GIRLS be taught abstinence, is due to get a second reading in parliament. Slut Means Speak Up will be speaking at this planned protest against the bill, together with Women Against Rape and Black Women’s Rape Action Project, who were involved in organising SlutWalk last June.
We will be at this protest because we know that abstinence-only sex education will be incredibly harmful to rape survivors. We know that the girls being taught to ‘just say no’ in school will become the women being accused of not saying ‘no’ loudly enough when they were raped. We know that the girls taught that sex must remain an unspoken subject will become the rape survivors who are too ashamed to share their experiences and find healing. We know that the girls being taught that there is no such thing as consensual sex will become the women who are unable to recognise, report and fight against rape.
UPDATE 20/01 - The bill has been withdrawn! Thank you so much to everyone who came to the protest.
Announcing SlutWalk London 2012
Slutwalk London: The radical notion that nobody deserves to be raped.
On 11th June 2011, SlutWalk came to London. Thousands of people of all races, genders, sexualities, classes and occupations came together to protest the silencing of our voices, the repression of our choices and the violence against our bodies. The word ‘slut’ carries a history of assault, shaming, insults and degradation, where people are forced to remain silent about their assault through a society and legal system which all too often places the blame on the victim. But those who came to SlutWalk were far from silent and ashamed. As much as SlutWalk was a direct challenge to the attitudes and practises which allow rape to continue in society, it was a celebration of our bodies, identities and choices, and an affirmation of our commitment to continuing the long struggle towards a world without assault.
Today, we are asking you to join with us for SlutWalk 2012. We need to continue the pressure we have put on those who would allow sexual assault and victim blaming to continue and welcome the silencing of those who are raped. The courts and police stations are still dismissing people’s reports of assault, losing crucial evidence or twisting the facts to render the victim responsible for their own assault - while as many as 95% of cases go unreported. In a worsening economic climate, people are being made more vulnerable to sexual violence by poverty, unemployment and drastic cuts to services - whether they be youth services, rape crisis centres or benefits to disabled people. Sex workers - a group especially vulnerable to sexual assault - still live in fear of reporting sexual assault lest they be persecuted by police or lose their livelihood through the closing of premises. Undocumented immigrants are still unable to report sexual assault for fear of imprisonment and deportation, making them easily exploitable. Sexual assault is often ignored or misunderstood in LGBTQ communities, where people face intrusive scrutiny over how they express themselves. We are asking you to join with us to continue fighting against sexual assault, slut shaming and victim blaming - and to recognise the racism, homophobia and class oppression which leave us more vulnerable.
There is one unifying factor in the language of those who are anti-woman and pro-rape: rape doesn’t happen. We were asking for it. We changed our minds the next morning. We were lying to get one over on our attackers. Men ‘can’t’ be raped. It wasn’t ‘proper’ rape. We deserved it. We secretly enjoyed it. Our partner did it, so it doesn’t count. We were dressed in such a way to be responsible for the violence. SlutWalk came out of a long movement against this attitude, and our voices are louder and clearer than ever. We invite you to march with us again in 2012, and organise with us in the months leading up to the march. We will not be silenced.
Facebook | Twitter
Statements from our supporters and from organisations we work with:
“I am marching because my best friend still thinks that her rape was her fault, because the authorities never looked into it, and because it will always haunt her. And that is not okay.” - anonymous supporter
“We are not victims. We were victims, for a moment in time. Now, we are survivors.” - Emily Jacob, supporter
“Whatever I wear, however I act, as a woman, there is always the possibility that I will be deemed a ‘slut’” - Rosa, supporter
“Believe it or not, not one of us is dressing for anyone other than ourselves.” - Kelly, supporter
“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. In the UK and across the globe, women of colour face racist and sexist violence. Women of African descent have always been considered sex objects, perpetually available to white men. The police are too often not responsive to any rape survivors, but even less so if we are women of colour. 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. Either we are all sluts or none of us is.” - Cristel Amiss, Black Women’s Rape Action Project
“Since 1976 we have been campaigning for all rape to be taken seriously. The anti-rape movement has shifted public opinion and won changes to the rape law and to prosecution policies. But implementation is still appalling. Only 6.5% of reported rape leads to a conviction. While most rapists get away with it, we face an increasing trend towards jailing rape victims accused of lying after a negligent and biased investigation into their rape. The organisers of Slutwalk London are determined that this movement be inclusive and make concrete demands.” - Women Against Rape
“How many of us have been unable to report violent attacks for fear of criminalisation, deportation or losing our anonymity? How many of us have been told by police we will be disbelieved and even arrested if we report? How many of us have been prosecuted when we did report while our attackers went free? We face criminalisation for trying to make a living and moralism from women who call themselves feminists, who claim that all prostitution is violence against women and that all immigrant sex workers are trafficked. Whether on the street or in premises, we are being driven further underground and into more danger. SlutWalk is another confirmation that people are really with us for an end to criminalisation and poverty everywhere.” - English Collective of Prostitutes
“All over the world women experience sexual violence, displacement, torture, feminicide and kidnap but the needs, realities, experiences and perspectives of women are often excluded from consideration. When women’s voices are not heard, women’s needs are ignored. When women are marginalised and excluded from power, men think it’s okay to say things like ‘women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.’ We believe that you can’t build peace by leaving half of the people out. No women, no peace.” - Chitra Nagarajan, No Women No Peace
“As disabled people, as children, we are vulnerable to violence from people we know, in the family and in institutions. We are not supposed to have a sex life, but we are often sexually exploited by the men around us. Did we provoke it? Did we dress like sluts? As women with disabilities, as single mothers, we have fought to have an income – so that we are not at the mercy of partners and family for our survival. That is being taken away from us. We are being driven back into dependence by the cuts in benefits, housing and services.” - WinVisible (Women With Visible and Invisible Disabilities)
“In Britain, the release of an official report declaring that girls are being too “sexualised” has coincided with parliamentary lobbies for young women to be “taught to say no”. Join the dots with police officers telling women that “no” is insufficient if they happen not to be dressed like a nun and an ugly picture begins to form. Young women, in particular, are expected to look hot and available at all times, but if we dare to express desires of our own, we are mocked, shamed and threatened with sexual violence, which, apparently, has nothing to do with the men who inflict it and everything to do with the length of skirt we have on. Now, more than ever, it’s time for “sluts” to walk - and walk tall.” - Laurie Penny
Cristel speaking at Slutwalk London on behalf of Black Women’s Rape Action Project.
Caitlin’s poem from Slutwalk. More footage hopefully to come!
Our protest outside the Crown Prosecution Service - (trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault)
On 1st July Slut Means Speak Up, together with Women Against Rape, the English Collective of Prostitutes, WinVisible and the Black Women’s Rape Action Project, took to the streets to picket the Crown Prosecution Service. We demanded an end to the unjust and misogynistic treatment of those who report rape only to be derided, shamed and blamed by the police and courts, and demanded protection for the sex workers who the legal system prosecutes for working together for safety, preventing them from reporting sexual violence.
We came together to protest the 6.7% rape conviction rate, the attack on women by the legal system and the criminalisation of sex workers - but statistics and legal reports come nowhere near to explaining the anger and pain that rape victims and sex workers feel at the hands of a legal system which claims to protect us - but instead protects our attackers. Almost everyone at this rally felt empowered to take the microphone to speak about their own experiences - from a sex worker who had been harassed by police on the streets of Paris, to a man who asked the police to act on the sexual grooming of his thirteen year old daughter only to find himself facing an accusation of harassment against police staff, to a woman who held up a picture of her battered face taken after her rape, to a young woman who spoke of the harassment and ridicule young women reporting sexual assault face from the police. A speaker from Women Against Rape told of a case where a man had filmed the woman during his rape of her. At great risk to herself, the woman managed to obtain the video and take her attacker to court - where she was then shown the video in the courtroom. She broke down crying and the judge said that the case was ‘too traumatic’ and put it ‘on file’ - which means that there is no chance of re-opening the case to win justice for this woman in the future.
Niki Adams, from the English Collective of Prostitutes, spoke of the case of Sheila Farmer - a sex worker who reported a gang which had been roaming the area and attacking women, only to find herself on trial for working together with other sex workers for safety. The police charged her with brothel keeping, raided her flat and confiscated her possessions. We were also there to support two women, both mothers, imprisoned for making so-called ‘false allegations’: Gail Sherwood, who was found half naked in a remote field, her hands tied above her head, visibly suffering from shock - yet the police called her ‘a sad, lonely 50-year old who couldn’t get a man and had made it all up’ and lost key evidence. The other is Leyla Ibrahim, a woman who claimed she was attacked on January 4th, 2009. Her mother reports that ‘she scrubbed herself in the shower until she was practically bleeding. She forced her brother to sit in her room with her so she was not alone’ after her assault, and an expert medical witness claimed that it was ‘unlikely’ that her injuries were self inflicted - yet she is now in prison for making a ‘false allegation’ of rape. And a young woman spoke of her rape in her flat at the hands of a friend, which the police told her was her fault for letting the man into her flat. These are real people with real experiences and real anger. We cannot be covered up and silenced by government reports which admit the ‘regrettable’ state of rape prosecutions but take no action, or by the rape apologists who claim that women were either lying or “asking for it”. Our voices are loud and our demands clear.
For a long time rape has been something which our police, law officials and government have been happy to force behind closed doors. Either evidence is lost or badly handled, or her clothes, sexual history, age or skin colour mean that it was not rape and she was in fact “asking for it”, or “men can’t get raped” or it is not “proper” rape - too ‘complicated’ for the attacker to be held to account, as Ken Clarke says - or the woman must be lying. But on the 1st of July we were angry and determined to be heard as our words echoed loudly through the street - giving the Crown Prosecution Service no choice but to listen. Rape - the private pain of the individual - is being transformed into the public protest of the survivor as people of all genders, races and backgrounds come together to insist that we are protected and treated fairly by the law which claims to be accountable to us - yet refuses to protect society’s most vulnerable people.
The success of this demonstration mean that it is likely we will hold another one in the near future so watch this space! Thank you so much to everyone who came and made it such a powerful protest and such a powerful celebration of our refusal to be victimised and intimidated by those who claim to protect us - we hope to see you again and to anyone who couldn’t make it, we hope that soon you will join your voice to ours.
Photo: Niki Adams
We’ve made a model letter for you to send to the individuals mentioned in the last post, if you want some guidance. We recommend adding some personal input, however, as template letters become quickly identifiable and can be dismissed.
We’ve also put the choice between ‘implement’ and ‘support’ in the first sentence. This is because, while Lynne Featherstone, Ken Clarke, Theresa May and Keir Starmer can implement the prosecution of rapists, Jo Johnson and Yvette Cooper can only support it.
Let us know if you get any responses!
I am writing to you to implement/support the call to prosecute rapists, not rape survivors. Rape and sexual assault are rarely taken seriously by those in authority. Survivors of rape are made to feel that they cannot report to the police for fear of being penalised themselves, or being disbelieved. [Insert personal view here – personal experiences if relevant]
There are many changes that need to be made in order to improve the rape conviction rate and change people’s attitudes to victims. You have the power to make these changes. I urge you to ensure that:
- Accusations of rape and sexual assault are taken seriously by police and courts and victims respected
- Victim blaming which focuses on the survivor’s clothing, profession, sexuality, race, ability, age, sexual history comes to an end
In particular, the police and Crown Prosecution Service should focus on prosecuting rapists and stop prosecuting rape victims for so-called false allegations. Sex workers who are working together in safety should also not be prosecuted – the CPS has the power to decide that such prosecutions are not in the public interest.
If officers and prosecutors are not sacked for their negligent treatment of rape and sexual assault, they are led to believe that it is acceptable behaviour. The power remains in the hands of those who do not respect the very people they are meant to be protecting.
I urge you to address this problem, as it affects everyone. To refuse to do so is to enable rape-apologism and victim-blaming and leaves violent attackers free to attack again.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Donate to SlutWalk London 2012! We still need over £2,000 for a PA system, permits, stage etc.
A film against rape We are making a self-help film about rape which educates us instead of telling us to be ashamed.
SlutWalk London 2012!
Sheila Farmer's prosecution dropped
Photos: Tom Radenz and Claire Butler