“Yes means yes! No means no! Whatever you wear, wherever you go!”
This was just one of the chants we shouted today at SlutWalk Chicago 2012. It was an unbelievably powerful experience. I met some amazing people, and even though there’s about a 95-99% chance I’ll never see these people again, we laughed together, cried together, and shared stories. The strength of the women around me was absolutely profound.
But enough of the sappiness, let’s get to the highlights!
It wasn’t just women! There were plenty of men there who joined in supporting the cause. One of the speakers was a man from Rape Victim Advocates, who was absolutely stunned that his views on gender equality, women’s rights, and blaming rape on the rapist were seen as radical. There were men dressed as sluts, men holding signs that said “Real Men Don’t Rape!” Just the fact that it’s not just women saying this made a huge deal to me.
It wasn’t just young people! I was expecting it to be pretty much all young, college aged people. Pardon me for stereotyping, but I was expecting so many of the typical “activists.” It’s good to see that there are so many different people on so many different walks of life that are standing up and saying “This isn’t right!”
So many different opinions! Even though we were all there fighting for the same thing, there were so many people there fighting for different subtopics, and many of them didn’t agree at all. There were people there protesting rape and there were people there wearing the Playboy Bunny. There were people there both for and against polygamy. There were people there both for and against sex workers. But the great thing about all of it is that while everybody was expressing their opinions, nobody was bashing each other or their opinions. Even with the differences of age, gender, opinion, there was an outstanding feeling of solidarity.
The speakers! I loved the diversity of speakers they had. As I said before, there was a man from Rape Victim Advocates, there was a woman who was a sex worker, there was a woman speaking on behalf of the trans community, there was a woman talking about S&M, there was even a comedian.
My favorite though, definitely has to go to Sandy Gonzalez. This woman got up to speak wearing clothing similar to what a child would wear, and then stripped that off and was wearing a little black dress, asking which one was “asking for it more.” She then proceeded to tell her survivor’s tale of being raped as a child. She yelled at the Toronto police officer who said to avoid getting raped, women shouldn’t dress like sluts, otherwise known as the statement that started it all, asking if a 5-year-old is being a slut when she’s sexually abused. She held up a picture of a 5-month-old baby who was raped and beaten to death by her father and uncle, asking if the baby was being a slut. She started to get choked up in the middle, and as I looked around, I saw plenty of people in the audience wiping away tears as well. At the end, she was the only speaker who got a standing ovation, and let me tell you, it was well deserved.
Overall, it was just an amazing and powerful day.
Never fear though, this day is not the end of it. Even if I’m not going to a rally downtown, I will continue to fight. So what are you waiting for? Join me!
By the way, I’m still working on the pictures I took from the event, I should be able to get those up soon.