SlutWalk Aotearoa was today—and while I need a bit of time to digest before I write up a response, I thought I’d put my speech up now. Following a grand tradition, I wrote this about an hour before the march! Photos and/or video will be added if I get any 🙂
Tag Archives: slutwalk aotearoa
Great article in The Wellingtonian this week: Myths about rape. (And no, I don’t just think it’s great because I was interviewed for it!)
It’s nice, for once, to see an article talking about sexual assault without quoting someone who thinks those brazen sluts should just take responsibility when they’re assaulted, and I’m genuinely thrilled to see someone focusing on the idea that we need more comprehensive sexual education — which was something I was really pushing in the lead-up to SlutWalk, and which no one really seemed to want to listen to.
What really interested me, though, was the statistics at the end of the article. Up-to-date statistics on rape and sexual assault in New Zealand aren’t easily found, so it was great to see such recent figures:
Rape Crisis client statistics for the period July 2010 to June 2011 (statistics include reported cases of both rape and sexual abuse):
– More than half of sexual abuse victims reported the offender was a partner, family member or friend.
– Only 2 per cent of attacks were attributed to someone the victim met on the night of the offence.
– Just 3 per cent of attacks were attributed to strangers.
Using my powers of advanced mathematics, if 3% of attacks are committed by strangers and 2% are committed by someone met the night of the attack, then that leaves 95% of sexual assaults committed by someone previously known to the victim.
So can somebody please explain to me why the hell we are still framing rape and sexual assault in terms of stranger-rape? Those numbers are actually pretty damn hard to ignore.
I should have published this ages ago—I didn’t, and I apologise. Behind the jump is my speech from SlutWalk Aotearoa… as close as I can remember it, as I did a bit of ad-libbing. If anyone took any audio/video recordings on the day, please flick them through to me! ♥
In the next day or so, Polly and I will be writing up an ‘official’ recap and response as organisers of SlutWalk Wellington for the SlutWalk Aotearoa website. But before I do that, I wanted to have a little bit of a personal reaction. There is much swearing ahead, and I apologise for that. I’m still buzzing.
SlutWalk was FUCKING AMAZING. Especially considering the drama I went through to get there — I was booked to fly with JetStar, who cancelled their flights due to the ash cloud… so on Thursday night I was booking an emergency flight with Air New Zealand for 11.30am the next morning, and I ended up ferrying from Wellington to Picton at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning and then BUSSING back to Christchurch.
It was so fucking worth it, though. I have never been hugged by so many strangers in all my life — some of them crying, some of them laughing, some of them both. The atmosphere was beyond incredible — I think this video on Stuff captures the feel of the crowd pretty well (trombones, roller skates, nun’s habits and corsets. It’s just another day for me!)
The speakers were so unbelievably fucking brave (and put my speech to shame well quick!), the crowd were supportive and encouraging and just fucking awesome. The media were generally respectful (although I wish they’d stop writing about scantily-clad protesters – goddamn!) and there was little backlash from the public. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect if we’d ordered it. All in all, a fucking incredible day and it was an honour and a privilege to be a part of it.
To Polly and Coley — I couldn’t have fucking done it without you, you are two of the most fantastic people I have ever met and I look forward to getting to know you both better as time goes on. I couldn’t have asked for more love and support from you guys — you two are what made SlutWalk great.
Bring on next year!
It has been a long, long time since I’ve written a speech. The last one I wrote was about 5 years ago, and it was my speech for Year 12 English (I got an Excellence and won the school speech competition, TYVM.)
I don’t think I’ve ever written a speech to be read in front of 1,000+ people, AND the media, AND (probably) YouTube. And it’s nervewracking. Not the speaking part, strangely. I have no problem getting up in front of a thousand people and speaking.
But what I actually say? That’s the nervewracking part.
There has been so much controversy over SlutWalk. There are going to be a lot of people watching us closely, waiting for us to fuck up. And that’s a scary thought. It’s a lot of pressure – say the right thing, don’t exclude, don’t speak for anyone, don’t fuck up.
And I’m saying a lot in my speech. Mostly, it’s around “Why SlutWalk?” – as an organiser, it’s my job to answer that one. There are so many differing opinions as to “Why SlutWalk”, and the only one I can offer is my own.
But as the speech stands now, I don’t talk about my own assaults. I’m not sure if I can do it. But I don’t know how seriously I’ll be taken as an organiser if I don’t.
I need to finish this damn speech already.
On June 25th from 2pm, people from all walks of life will be banding together in Wellington and Auckland for one simple reason – we have had enough. Enough of being angry. Enough of wanting better education, awareness and treatment around sexual assault and seeing nothing. Enough of being accused of ‘oversensitivity’ and ‘political correctness gone mad’ when we object to rape jokes. Enough of the pervasive and continuing myths and stereotypes about who is sexually assaulted and why.
For those who don’t know the origins of SlutWalk, it started in Toronto, Canada when a police officer stood up at a safety talk at York University and stated, “I’ve been told not to say this… but women should avoid dressing like sluts if they don’t want to be victimised.” SlutWalk Toronto was held on April 3rd and attracted over 4,000 participants after just six weeks of organisation. Women and men of all ages marched together – most carrying placards, ranging from the humorous: “Sluts say yes!” to the heartbreaking: “I was 10 years old and he was my father. Does it really matter what I was wearing?” Some were dressed in stereotypical ‘slutty’ clothing, while others dressed for a, still fairly cold, Canadian spring afternoon.
SlutWalk is about unity. We are fighting the myths around the types of people who are sexually assaulted, who is responsible, and why they occur. We are rallying to place the blame for sexual assault where it belongs: on the perpetrators. We are promoting the idea that women should be able to dress however they like without having to wonder if they will be blamed if they are attacked – and that ‘slut’ should not be seen as an inherently bad thing. We aim to put an end to victims’ sexual history being brought up at trial as a weapon for the defence, and we wish to get the message out there: no means no, yes means yes, and only our words can consent for us – not our bodies or our clothes. We also firmly stand behind the truth that sexual assault is not only something done by men to women, and that not all sexual assault is rape.
Sluts and allies of Aotearoa, please consider joining us on June 25th for the simultaneous marches in our two largest cities. Full details, including event pages for both events, can be found on our website, on our Facebook page, and updates can also be found on Twitter: @SlutWalkNZ. You can also email the organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
And of course, we are constantly on the lookout for volunteers in both cities, so if you think you can help out, please send an email our way with your contact details!
Slutwalk Aotearoa protest, Auckland Chapter: More info.
Slutwalk Aotearoa protest, Wellington Chapter: More info.
This was originally a guest post at The Stroppery, a short-lived but awesome-while-it-lasted NZ feminist collective blog. As they’re now shutting up shop, I’ll repost this here to make sure the blog is preserved!
In the course of organising SlutWalk Aotearoa, I am getting a lot of feedback – positive, negative, and downright trolling – regarding the purpose of the SlutWalk. One comment I’m getting a lot (mostly, though not always, from men) is the idea that victim blaming is “something ‘we feminists’ spout about even though it has no basis in reality”, or “a vague phantom idea no one really believes”.