I didn’t make it to the inaugural rally last time and this year I was awfully glad that I made the effort. There was a reasonable turnout of maybe, 200 people – Melbourne can be a terribly ambivalent city, so anyone showing up is a good sign!
SlutWalk has never been more relevant, with the year between marches filled with attempt after attempt by western politicians to misappropriate women’s rights and bodies for their own advancement. The rally was, if nothing else, a reminder that no matter how cleverly* certain fuckwits may try to slice and dice rape to suit themselves, the quotidian reality of rape and sexual harassment remains that same for women. It happens. It happens a lot, and it happens to all of us.
The name may be controversial – I know many women and feminists are dubious regarding the reclamation of “slut” – but the core message of the rally is clear and extremely powerful: survivors of rape and sexual assault should never be made to feel responsible for the crime done to them.
I still believe that slut-shaming and victim-blaming are intrinsically linked. Both rely on the precept that a woman exerts some kind of inexorable sexy-force that causes mens’ pants to fall off, that they are asking for it, that they should have done more to not get raped.
Calling someone a slut, or a “tease” is in my opinion, informed by the same attitudes that give voice to victim-blame. It is a suggestion that the woman in question is exhibiting unladylike behaviour and as such deserves any unwanted attention she receives.
I hope that SlutWalk will continue for many years, so that we “sluts” might stand together and refuse to let blame be placed upon us. So that we might continue to insist that the relevant ‘choices’ in an incidence of rape do not include what a woman wears, how much she drinks, who she speaks to or where she goes, but ONLY that of the rapist to rape.
*by cleverly, I mean idiotically.