UPDATE: See coverage of the event HERE
San Diego event to be held Saturday, June 11 at City Hall
There is a movement storming the country, and the world, whose purpose is to end placing the blame of rape on the victim. This includes dispelling the myth that the way someone acts or dresses determines the likelihood that they will be raped, or that they somehow deserve what they get.
It was ignited in January by a comment made by Toronto policeman Constable Michael Sanguinetti while addressing students and staff at Osgoode Hall Law School, when he recommended that women not dress like “sluts” in order to avoid sexual assault. Under pressure from the community he finally apologized weeks later, but apologies don’t change what was said. Apologies don’t change how people think. Apologies just want the words to go away… back into the dark, dank places where ideas like these continue to multiply.
Reaction to that policeman’s statement spurred a group in Toronto to organize the first SlutWalk where 1500 people marched on Toronto Police Headquarters in early April, demanding “We Have Had Enough!”, and the movement has continued to grow. The SlutWalk San Diego website states that to date there have been more than 80 events worldwide.
SlutWalk in San Diego
I first heard about the San Diego SlutWalk when I received a Facebook Event invitation from a friend, one of those things where people allow the app to send an invite to their whole damned friend list. 99% of the time I don’t even look at them, but this one? Well, the name sparked my curiosity… Having been in touch with my inner slut for a long time it wasn’t the word slut that roused me but that there was an event where a bunch of sluts would be walking! To where or what I didn’t yet know but I was damned sure going find out!
They had me at the mission statement:
As a part of SlutWalk San Diego, we are proudly taking a stand against sexual violence and the bully tactics of victim blaming. We believe that all of us, regardless of gender, need to recognize that by allowing the publicly shaming of victims by using their appearance or sexual history against them, it creates a society that accepts and justifies acts of sexual violence.
We recognize that we need to end not only the acts of sexual violence, but the excuses that allow that violence to continue. We believe in the simple concept that everyone deserves to be respected for who they are.
As a survivor of rape I knew this was an event I needed to get behind, and I added my name to the list of people who have pledged to attend. That list has grown to almost 2,400 names. The event will be held this Saturday, June 11th, in downtown San Diego (MAP). Gathering at City Hall, 202 C Street, speakers will begin at 1:30 and the infamous walk is to begin at 2:00, where the event will wrap up at Horton Plaza Park.
Organizers Anastasia Shevchenko, Pamela Doble and Rebecca Trichelhave issued a press release stating;
SlutWalk is a march and rally designed to end sexual violence and the bullying tactics and justification of sexual violence that is victim blaming — as well as reclaim the word “slut.”
On Saturday, June 11th, the people of San Diego – women, men, and children of all different ages, ethnic backgrounds, and gender identities are taking to the streets to spread their message that in our Fair City, victim blaming in situations of sexual violence will not be tolerated. We are saying that words like “Slut” will no longer shame us into silence.
- The San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality
- Women’s Studies Student Association at CSUSM
- The Espresso
- The Rubber Rose
- Gothic Furnishings
- 24HR Vinyl
- Joe’s Pizza San Diego
- San Diego Club X
- San Diego International Socialist Organization
SlutWalk Los Angeles took place this past Saturday, June 4th, but I wasn’t able to find any main-stream media coverage of that event, only a few blurbs from last week announcing it as upcoming. I did find some great video on YouTube, one of which can viewed at the end of this post, a slide show of photos by Shari B. Ellis.
Walk the Walk, Slut or Not
In doing research for this article I’ve read comments from readers all over the globe. People are having a hard time getting behind SlutWalk because of the name, because they are offended by the word slut. Or because they think the group is sending the wrong message, that they are advocating dangerous behavior. Some of the comments I have read are truly outrageous. One man actually said that if someone flashing a large roll of cash got robbed it was no different than a woman asking to be raped because of the way she was dressed. Sorry, buddy, my sexuality doesn’t fit in my pocket.
Words carry great power, like it or not. They can hurt, degrade and scar someone for life. If I say to you that I was raped would that make you want to walk this walk with me? Would you walk with me if I told you I was raped and called a slut? But if I took back the power that word can have and called myself a slut, would you not walk with me?
Women deserve the right to walk alone without fear, to claim their own sexuality without being ridiculed and not to be shamed into thinking that rape is something they brought on themselves. We are finally getting to the point in this society where we are teaching our children that sexual assault is never their fault, why can’t we get there for everyone? Slut or not?
Come out this Saturday and walk with us, even if it makes you uncomfortable. There may be a woman walking next to you in her flannel pajamas, or in a thong and fish net stockings. Would it be any more (or less) than you see at the beach any summer day? Well, some would say that there is a time and place for such things… but there is no time or place for rape.