I am marching/stewarding because I hate the word slut and all it’s connotations of blaming women for sexism and sexual violence. We are not sluts we are women who can dress as we please, go where we please, have sex as we please, with whom we please and how we please without becoming sexually available or dehumanised. I’m determined that we will have a world where women are equal and free and sexuality isn’t alienated. A world where we are worth more than our looks and how much men fancy us. A world where the word NO is understood as no and not reinterpreted by how we dress, or what we drank, or whether we said yes before or yes to someone else..
We can do it!
Like many I have been the victim of sexual violence and had to deal with all the comments and sick reactions.
So, where ever we go, how ever we dress, lets teach them that yes means yes and no means NO
(Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault)
The main reason why I am so keen in be part of your demonstration is because I was victim as well of sexual assault, three years ago.
I was living in Madrid for a semester, studying into a university to improve my linguistic skills, and the graduation day I went out with my colleagues to celebrate our goals.
As I was coming back home, quite late in the night, 3am I did find a man, on the way close to my building, walking in my same street at the opposite side. He just called me “guapa” putting an hand on my month trying to touch my breast. I felt blocked, for a second that was lasting an eternity. Than something shook me. I react, I start screaming and try to escape. He threw me on the floor starting to hit me. I didn’t give up. I bit his hand so strongly that after a while, he decided to give up, and quietly come back home.
Still sound so strong to openly talk about this. It was not the kicks that have hurt me, but the new feeling of insecureness of my following later on.
First going to police to report happening, the following day. I waited for my friend/flatmate to come after school because I wasn’t completely unable of getting out of my house alone. World seems a little jail with no air to breathe, and even the sky upon me caused me a kind of claustrophobia.
Then the immoral treat of police. They hold me for interview all afternoon long, bringing me to the other part of the city, realizing me at midnight just in time for letting me cross the city with night public transportation. It was one of the hardest thing to do that day.
I was feeling for quite a year paralyzed, afraid of my own shadow, with lots of panic attack, and a compulsive lifestyle. I felt alone. Even if I wasn’t. My sister came to Madrid to help me during the following days, and life went on.
But for me it wasn’t. I felt everyday in every single moment of the day that fear. I started to trust in nobody. Close myself to life. Eating and drinking disorders. No one seemed good to help me in quitting that dark patina full of fears my life was felt into. It was like screaming with no voice. The same of that night, loudly seeking help in a empty street. I took 13 kilos in 5 months.
People surrounding me didn’t know or understand how to help me, and how much I needed that.
Every time I tried starting to talk with someone about this, I can see them scared of earing, or just stopping my difficulty in talking telling me: you were lucky, you were strong, this is over.
But is not. This has changed my life. I have been working a lot on my self to go past the fear and the anxiety this has provoked to me. hardly working on studying, dieting, and after a while to take me back my sexual life as well. After Madrid abroad experience the thing that terrify me the most that this bad luck destroyed my dream life of travelling thought world to learn languages, that I could never have the strength of live again, alone again in a foreign metropolis.
But look, now I am here, I am proud of having forgot sufferings, and still I want to fight for woman rights. Woman that have been less lucky or strong or helped than me. Even my mother, when I told her the happening after some months, her first sentence was: ” how were you dressed?” It was not my fault. I wasn’t dressed sexy but either, I have the right of dressing in whichever way I want. Even on media is not rare to hear statements regarding woman dressing in a sexy way are looking for sexual assault. Whoever had been looking for such a withering thing? I was not. And that’s the reason why I want to join you.
(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.
[Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault]
In no other crime is the victim subject to so much scrutiny during an investigation or at trial; nor is the potential for victims to be re-traumatised during these processes as high in any other crime.” (HMCPS & HMIC, 2007)
We are marching to prove that “a slut” does not exist – it’s a term of abuse catapulted at women for so many different reasons, with countless different definitions. It’s a word that shows that female sexuality is still controlled, that is objectified rather than celebrated. By coming together and putting us all under a SlutWalk label so to speak, celebrating sexual diversity and choice, we’re highlighting that not only can women be called a slut for such irrelevant reasons, but that by using words like slut, society is ignoring the real causes of rape.
Victims of sexual assault need society’s support not its scrutiny.
We believe ignoring a word’s existence because it’s a part of misogynistic language is not going to work. Just because we ignore a word, doesn’t stop it existing or take away its power. We believe you can attack a word and render it meaningless. It’s just like standing up to a bully; you metaphorically attack it head on. Like playing the system, you have to get inside, use the term, break it apart, take away its power and that’s when we can start to create a society that doesn’t use such terms at all.
Slut is a socially constructed term. If we come together - people of all different kinds, in all different clothes, anyone from a-sexuals to those who sleep with 100’s, it’s dispelling this “slut” myth and showing that it holds NO relevance over rape cases.
We are protesting against victim-blaming, against slut-shaming, against a sex negative culture which is perpetuating rape myths and therefore ignoring the real issues, and a justice system that is incredibly unjust!
The UK currently has 47,000 rapes reported a year; this number is steadily rising, despite the fact that the conviction rate is steadily lowering. At 6.5%, the UK now has the worst conviction rape in Europe besides Ireland, despite the fact that there is supporting evidence in 86.7% of charged cases of rape. Those are the facts – we’re also hearing more and more stories of how dreadfully victims are treated by police and within the justice system and they are often put off from reporting their attacks at all! It is estimated that even only 5% of rapes are ever reported – and of course men are victims too, anyone can be, but in a society that perpetuates a sexual double standard – everyone is put off reporting what happens to them for fear of how they will be perceived by the courts and by society as a whole.
The biggest rape myth is that the victim does something to provoke a rapist.. This is not statistically backed up and makes no sense. It’s strange how so much emphasis is put on the victims of sexual assault and not enough is asked of the rapist – SlutWalk is highlighting this injustice and trying to show society that nothing a victim does made them a victim – someone was raped because a rapist decided to rape them. There is no such thing as an invitation or a provocation for something that, by definition, is forcing someone to do something that they don’t want to partake in.
All kinds of people get raped, women, men, genderqueer people, children, the elderly, disabled people – and people of all shapes and sizes, ethnic origins, backgrounds, sexual orientations, dress senses etc etc etc. Anyone can be a victim as rape isn’t about sexuality; it’s a hateful act about power and control over someone, using their sexual anatomy as the vehicle to express that. Most victims know their perpetrator, something that a lot of people often overlook.
We grow up in a society where words like slut (whore, tart, etc etc etc) are used to brand women who are promiscuous or perceived as being, and by branding them, we are out-casting them, which leads to objectification which leads to a mindset of them being lesser people - less deserving of respect somehow… and that leads to a culture where people feel it’s then okay to objectify them, where society feels it’s okay to see their body as public property if they choose to display their sexuality. Sexuality can be celebrated, the human body can be celebrated, sexuality can be celebrated without leading to objectification – but this sex negativity is so ingrained within us that it’s hard to break free from. Our sexuality is still being controlled.
(Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault)
Hi, I’m Anna and I’m only 16 years old. I’m in high school, you know how boys that age are. I will be marching for every single girl that experienced some sort of sexual harassment in high school.
I remember some boys always slapping my bum, always doing something I didn’t want them to. I’ve been ashamed, I felt dirty. I didn’t say anything which was the worst decision I ever made in my life. I stopped wearing skirts, tight tops, I wore baggy pants and generally started dressing like a boy. They didn’t stop. then I spoke out, I told someone, they got in trouble.
It might not be as humiliating as some stories I read on here but it sure did damage my self esteem for many, many months.
Ladies, never stay quiet, always fight for your rights.
“No Means No; Yes Means Yes; Wherever We Go; However We Dress.”
(Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault)
I am walking because as a thirty-something female, over the years, I’ve faced that familiar feeling before leaving the house for a night out, particularly when I’ve been living in a big city. Do I look ok? Will I get any hassle between home and destination? Can I run in these shoes if I need to? Will I get home safe? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to dress how we liked and not be afraid, of judgement or worse. Without getting too deep into it, women are expected to be sexually continent. They CAN control themselves if a hot guy walks past. They are not likely to use it as an excuse for violence. It’s time to end the sexual double standard.
(Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault)
I’ll be marching because when I was walking home from the library I was approached by a boy my age. I was wearing my school uniform and it was not flattering or revealing in anyway.
He offered to walk me home and I accepted. We ended up walking past my house and living in a remote farm town we heading into the grapevines for a walk. We kissed, but I didn’t want to kiss anymore and said no and asked him to stop. He didn’t take no for an answer and kept kissing me then forced himself onto me and held me and started to finger me. My resistance and pleas were unheard and I was helpless.
He finally stopped and I walked home alone.
In the evening there was blood on my knickers and I decided to call a friend to tell her what happened. Her mum told my mum and I had the police around that evening and the next day interviewing me.
The police caught up with the boy but couldn’t get a matching story so they said there was nothing they could do and it just sounded like a misunderstanding and that I had changed my mind afterwards accusing him.
I didn’t consent to what happened to me.
When I went back to school my friend told everyone who told everyone and I had the share of I deserved it comments and I asked for it comments.
Even in later years my mum used it against me in a fight telling me I deserved to be treated that way.
I’m walking because NO means NO.
Because I was sexually assaulted. Two years ago I was walking home from school (wearing a thick coat over my baggy clothes might I add) and someone came up from behind me and groped me. He started talking to me telling me how he thought I was beautiful and had to talk to me. He then grabbed one of my breasts and kept telling me I was beautiful. He ran off after I had lied and told him I had a boyfriend. This was the first time I had been touched in this way, all I had done before was kiss a boy.
It completely warped my idea of the world, and of men, and I asked myself so many questions. Afterwards I couldn’t walk down my own road, where it had happened. I reported it to the police several months later, which resulted in nothing, after having panic attacks and seeing Victim Support who helped me realise that I was the one in control of my body, not anyone else.
What shocked me was that a while later I started a debate in a psychology class while we were discussing free will. I posed a similar hypothetical situation and the side for free will simply answered that the girl in question must have been dressed in a suggestive way. My teacher then seemed to agree with them.
That is why I want to march and why I want to wear the clothes I wore when I was assaulted to see if it is at all provocative to wear a baggy t-shirt with a skirt and tights, and thick coat over it.
(trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault)
SlutWalk isn’t a feminist issue. Rape isn’t a feminist issue. Rape is everyone’s issue. SlutWalk is about highlighting that it is never the fault of the victim and only ever the fault of the rapist.
Rape doesn’t define who I am. But it does constitute a big part of who I have become. It has changed the way I view the world and almost everything about me; it has changed my family relationships, it has deeply impacted the relationships with my friends, it affects the way I handle stress at work. It’s changed how I trust (now I distrust). I move house like it’s a hobby, in search of somewhere to feel safe. I’ve overcome depression but it’s a constant cloud hanging over me. I worry about when the next panic attack will creep up on me, whether tonight I will sleep, whether tonight he’ll come back, whether I will wake in fear. Rape is part of my life, every day.
I am walking because I was raped. But that is not the only reason I am walking. I am walking because two thirds of people who answered a survey would say I am to blame for my rape. I was drinking. Perhaps I was drugged, I will never know. I am incredibly angry when I read that 64% of people say I should take responsibility for my rape. The only person to blame is the man who raped me.
Society teaches those two thirds of people that it was my fault. Society teaches people that if you take precautions you’ll stay safe; society lets women kid themselves that ‘it won’t happen to me’. Rapists are the bogey-man; they aren’t the internet date, the colleague, the boyfriend, the husband. Victims stay silent because talking about rape makes people uncomfortable; it’s taboo. And victims stay silent because when they do talk about it, even ‘friends’ might say ‘well, if you didn’t report it straight away you couldn’t have been raped’ (no longer a friend).
But rape is happening all the time. It’s happening every day. On average, there are 326 rapes EVERY DAY in this country. Of these, only 2,021 result in convictions, a 2% conviction rate. Women have a 1 in 24 risk of being raped in their adult life. (For men it is 1 in 200).
(A note on the figures. The Stern Report claims a 58% conviction rate, which is based on the number of people prosecuted for rape. But the Stern Report also acknowledges that as few as 11% of rapes are even reported; using figures from within the Stern Report the facts are that if you report a rape, there is a 15% conviction rate, but that of all rapes, 98% of rapists walk away. The Stern Report calls these discrepancies in reporting the statistics, the ‘attrition’ rate. The Stern Report also recommends that the reporting of statistics should be reviewed).
I am walking because I was raped, and because I am angry. I am angry with what my life has become. I am so angry with the lack of justice, the hundreds and thousands of rapists who walk away. I am angry with media which perpetuates the urban myth that men might be in constant risk of being accused of rape and the idea that it is men who need protecting from vengeful women: when it comes to an accusation of rape, the accuser is the presumed liar.
I am angry because the survivors of rape are victimised again and again. If we report it (I did) we are forced to re-live it in horrendous detail several times over. Our hopes are raised that perhaps a successful prosecution might provide closure (because at the time we think closure is possible). And we feel violated again when the CPS decides not to prosecute after all and he simply walks away. We are victimised when we stay silent and tell our work colleagues that we’ve got the flu, or a migraine, and that’s why we’re not at work – not that last night he came back in our nightmares and the idea of leaving the house is too overwhelming. We are victimised when the doctor tells us that if we’ve done our therapy, we shouldn’t still be suffering. We are victimised when we are called victims.
We are not victims. We were victims, for a moment in time. Now, we are survivors. The one positive thing I can take from the experience is that I have survived, I have had the strength to survive and I am a survivor. And that is why I am walking.
Thank you to Emily Jacob.
(Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault.)
Why I Will Be Marching
One day last year I got a call from my best friend, studying abroad in Australia for a year. She was so distraught she couldn’t talk, could hardly breathe. Eventually she could speak enough to get the story out. She’d woken up in a strange hotel, with torn clothes, bruises and no memories past 8 pm. All she could remember was being out with some friends; at one bar she had started talking to the man who she was later seen on CCTV with. She had no memory of leaving with him. She didn’t know how she’d been so drunk as to forget everything. Nothing added up.
It seemed clear to her what had happened, and she reported the man immediately. The police, however, didn’t want to know.
They told her that without his word saying that yes, he had assaulted her, they couldn’t take it any further: it was his word against hers, and she had clearly been blackout drunk. Even if that was out of character for her. Even if it was highly probable she’d been drugged.
After a few weeks of being told this she started to believe it; that it was all her fault, that she had been asking for it.
I am marching because I want to tell the world that drinking does not mean you are asking for it. The way our dominant culture characterizes and discusses rape is clearly warped: how is it that we would think it okay to take the possible perpetrator’s word over that of the victim in such a case - to such an extent that they refuse even to investigate it?
This was not the first time my friend had been sexually assaulted. I can only hope it is the last.
At least six of my very close friends have been raped or sexually abused. My friends are strong, and wonderful, and they will survive. They are also fighting for recognition and a redefinition of what sexual assault and rape mean, and where the blame lies; but that doesn’t make what happened to them any less horrible and life-altering.
I am marching because I love my friends.
I am marching because short skirts and low tops are not open invitations.
I am marching because no means no: regardless of what you are wearing, regardless of where you are, or whether you’ve had a drink or a toke or a hit. No means no whether its your friend, your boyfriend, your husband, or a hook-up at a party.
I am marching because I believe we have the right to have sex as we please, to dress as we like and to enjoy our sexualities; but we also have the right to say STOP and to be obeyed.
I am marching with the hope that by raising our voices we can effect some change in the system that lays the blame at the victims feet in a way that sanctions, rather than discourages, rape.
I am marching because society needs to start realizing the real scale of rape and sexual abuse and addressing it head on by not only teaching Don’t Get Raped but also teaching DON’T RAPE.
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.