We went out to Downing Street in our underwear today!
Why were we there?
Only 7 out of every 100 reported rapists are convicted. The other 93 go free.
SlutWalk wants justice for the thousands of rape survivors who were told by the police and courts that they were dressed too provocatively, they didn’t scream loudly enough, they were too drunk or too young or too mentally ill to understand what had happened to them, they must have consented because the rapist was their (ex) husband or (ex)boyfriend, they were sex workers and should be prosecuted rather than their attackers, they were asylum seekers and should be sent back to the detention centre or deported.
As women we know that the justice system will not protect us from sexual and domestic violence. When rape is reported, police often: dismiss or downgrade the complaint, lose or fail to collect evidence, refuse to interview witnesses or make arrests, and blame the victim (usually a woman or girl) rather than the rapist. Some victims are discriminated against because they are women of colour. Some victims are even accused of lying, prosecuted and imprisoned while their attackers go free.
It does terrible things to people when they don’t get justice. Without justice there is no protection for you, your friends or family – whoever got away with it and others like him will expect to get away with it again. There is no confirmation that what happened to you was wrong and wasn’t your fault, no closure. You are left with an open wound. And you are more vulnerable to being raped again as police are more likely to disbelieve you if you have reported attacks in the past.
Police, lawyers and judges need to realise that it could be their daughters, wives, girlfriends or themselves receiving this treatment.
What can we do to get protection? And what can we do when the police themselves are the rapists, the ones who falsify statements, and the ones who accuse rape victims of lying? In the same week, it has come out that the police lied to the Hillsborough families about their loved ones in false statements, and a police officer was convicted of falsifying rape documents in order to drop cases. We want all such injustices exposed and stopped.
By marching again this year, we are letting the authorities know that we will not go away until they take rape seriously by thoroughly investigating and prosecuting, so that more rapists are convicted, men generally are discouraged from sexual violence, and women get the safety and justice we deserve. We all have a right to live free from the fear of rape.
SlutWalk London: Rape Survivors Speak Out
WE ALL WANT JUSTICE AND PROTECTION FROM RAPE. Sign our petition to protect all rape survivors and prosecute rapists.
“We got told that he would be arrested 2 weeks after I made the allegation. It took 4 months. In that time they called me in and the detective sat me down and asked me how a teenage child could understand what rape was and that I had to take responsibility for my actions that night.”
“You feel that if I report this, where am I going to live? How am I going to survive? Who is going to look after me? Because the government has already washed their hands of me. When you do get the courage to report, the first thing you get when you go to the police station is ‘what is your status?’ Then they’re calling the UK Border Agency. Before you know it you’ve been raped, you’ve been sexually violated, and you find yourself in the back of the van back to the detention centre.”
“I don’t like the term victims because we’re still here. We are survivors. Every day we are getting out of bed - or sometimes not - but every day we are making it through another day and that makes us strong and it makes us survivors.”
A film by SlutWalk London with Women Against Rape and Black Women’s Rape Action Project, and the English Collective of Prostitutes.
‘Every rape survivor needs compassion, not detention’ - young girl holding a sign at SlutWalk London 2012.
Donna Rayment on why she signed our petition. Please sign it yourself to show your support for justice for all rape survivors.
Diversity and inclusivity was the order of the day. We heard the story of young women who had struggled with the justice system after being raped; the story of a mother whose daughter had been raped at the age of 16, and whose rapist had got away with it; the story of a trans woman battling with the constant discrimination and threat of sexual violence; stories about women with disabilities being denied their rights; stories about how sex workers face prosecution from the police instead of protection; the story of a gay man who had been raped, and dismissed by the homophobic police officer he reported it to. Two excellent poets also recited their work, injecting an upbeat note into the atmosphere. For me, the most harrowing but moving account came from a woman from the Caribbean, who had immigrated to the UK. She spoke about how she and her daughter had been raped and beaten up by a group of men, who forced her to smuggle drugs into the UK. If she did not do so, they warned, they would kill both her and her children. With no choice, she complied, only to be arrested in the UK and sent to prison for 9 years. She was subject to rape again in the UK, reported it, and faced discrimination and racial abuse, with her immigrant status used against her. In the end, her rapist got off scot-free. Despite all this, her strength and courage were astounding. To this day, she continues to fight against rape and for justice for rape survivors, and proclaims, “No matter what they do to me, I will not give up! I will keep fighting.”
Ultimately, this diversity made Slutwalk London a big success. It drove home the message that, when it comes to sexual violence, we are all in this together, regardless of class, immigration status, race, sexuality, being able or disabled, cis or trans. We may not all agree as to what should best be done with the word ‘slut’, but we are united in the notion that we must not allow it to be a word that is used to divide us, with ‘respectable’ women at one end and ‘loose’ women on the other. Because our sexual activity, or lack of it, is irrelevant. And no woman deserves to be raped."
Crates and Ribbons: Account of SlutWalk London 2012
Why I am marching
I’m marching because my body is MINE and I can wear what ever I chose to.
I’m marching for all those girls in abusive relationships that never leave and never call it rape and never report it.
I’m marching because my father hasn’t spoken to me in over two years because I’m a “slut” and “sex slave.”
I’m marching for all those ignorant men out there who blame women for men’s vile actions. We blame ourselves anyway. We judge ourselves and chastise ourselves and hurt ourselves.
I’m marching for the deputy head at my CATHOLIC SCHOOL that told me “don’t start things you can’t finish.” Reassuring words to tell a traumatised teenager. What hurts more is that I know she has experienced the same thing.
I’m marching for them not removing him from my classes and moving me instead to lower sets, even though I’m more intelligent than him, further instilling the idea in other’s minds that I’m at fault, I’m to blame and I’m a liar.
I’m marching for all those women whose cases are swept under the carpet by people in positions of power, people who are supposed to help us.
Every day I am angry. Even in my dreams I am livid.
He took all my power away.
He took away my peace of mind.
He took away the control I felt I had over my body.
I will wake up every day and I will live and I will survive this because it has not and will not kill me. I was a victim once but that doesn’t mean that’s my label forever. I am not a slut and I am not a victim. I am a human being who was hurt and is hurting and I’m doing my damn best to heal.
I have never been able to write this down and even though it has caused a lot of tears writing it, I’m glad that Slut Walk has given me a reason to.
No one should have the power to silence us.
READ THIS WHOLE PIECE UNDER THE CUT - MAJOR CONTENT WARNING FOR RAPE
Women of Colour Speak Out for SlutWalk
We are delighted to be joining women, girls and our supporters of all ages and backgrounds at SlutWalk in London, part of global protests against rape and victim-blaming. As we prepare to join, we we’re circulating a response to Black Women’s Blueprint, the US group that discouraged Black women’s participation, though women of colour on every continent joined or organised marches. This Saturday 22 September we aim to bring out our experience fighting rape by landlords, police, soldiers, immigration officials, security guards, clients, employers, boyfriends, partners. We think that thousands of women publicly identifying as “sluts” is a piece of power against rapists and other attackers who use the excuse of what we wear and how we look to dismiss violence against us. We hope to see you there!
Women of Colour @ Global Women Strike UK and US
From the age of 15 to 17 - I was with a boyfriend who regularly forced me to have sex with him and humiliated me by calling me a slut. I felt unable to do anything about it because I had willingly had sex with him in the beginning of the relationship and I guess I thought that made me a slut.
Over the years I have heard many, many stories from other women about their experiences of rape and sexual assault. Hearing those stories helped me feel that I wasn’t alone in this experience. It has also made me feel really angry that a small minority of predatory men are getting away with abusing women because of our societies hang-ups around sex and particularly female sexuality. I also find it really disturbing that for all the stories I have heard from other women – not one of these women reported their assault to the police.
I am going to the march to show my support for the brave, beautiful, courageous young women who are organising the event and have the courage to speak out. I am also doing this for my 17 year –old self who couldn’t speak out all those years ago."
Why I am marching
Why I am marching
I will be marching anyway because no woman deserves to be raped and rape-culture does nobody any favours. Not women, not men: not anyone.
I did not deserve to be raped by my boyfriend almost three years ago because I said no to sex. He wanted me to talk to him about my previous sexual experience with a mutual friend. He wanted to get off on me taking about it. I said no. I said I didn’t want to carry on and have sex. He held me against a wall by my throat while I said no and stop and don’t and spat in my face and called me a whore.
The woman my boyfriend told me he had raped the day before I broke up with him last week did not deserve to be raped because they were all high and she was asleep and it was “just a silly game”. I had already planned to end the relationship. He had never been violent, or abusive, or threatening: he was just a bad boyfriend. After I told him it was over, he was begging me for another chance. Then suddenly he said ”funny story, I sexually assaulted someone last night” and told me he and a female friend had raped someone with an object. He told me she was asleep, and when she woke up and cried they held her down and carried on. He thought I started yelling and threw him out of my house because he had cheated on me, and said it wasn’t sex it was a joke, a silly game, just fun. He said it wasn’t rape because afterwards she said it was funny. Then he said it wasn’t a sexual assaut, it was all consensual, and I am over-reacting. But he still started the story by telling me “I sexually assaulted someone”. He still said “funny story, I sexually assaulted someone”. He still explained the assault with enough clarity and vivid detail for me to believe it was a real event, and the way he explained it at first was real: and his back-tracking that he only said “sexual assault” as a joke was just because when I started screaming he started to realise what he had done was wrong. And I have reported him to the Police.
I am speaking to rape crisis counsellors again to deal with the shock and fallout in my life. He knew that I was a rape vicitm. He knew I was sexually assaulted when I was 14. He knows I am an outspoken feminist and a decent human being and that I would not find “funny story, I sexually asaulted someone ” funny. Not even if it was just as a really bad joke.
Sexual assault is not a joke. Rape isn’t funny.
No-one deserves to be raped. And no-one deserves to live in a society where people say it was it was okay to rape me becasue I had had sex with that man before, or it was okay to rape someone because it was “a silly joke and not about sex” or even to say “I only told you I sexually assaulted someone as a joke”.
Thank you for organising this event.
SlutWalk London 2012 - Saturday 22nd September 2012, meet 12.30pm at Top of Piccadilly (near Hyde Park Corner).
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Donate to SlutWalk London 2012! We have raised £1358 and need another £500 to cover the costs of the PA system, banner material and jackets for stewards. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated already.
SlutWalk London 2012!
Sheila Farmer's prosecution dropped
Photos: Tom Radenz and Claire Butler