SlutWalk London 2012 will be in September!
SlutWalk London: the radical notion that nobody deserves to be raped.
We want to make this year’s rally bigger and better than last year! We hope you will all join us in September to protest the silencing of our voices, the repression of our choices and the violence against our bodies.
This year we will be back even louder than before!
Watch this space for further details, our aims for 2012 and news!
It may interest you to know that rape and dress sense aren’t linked at all.
When most people are raped by someone they knew (85.7%, sometimes found to be higher, depending on study) then dressing differently or more conservatively isn’t a preventative measure at all. You’re speaking of the much much smaller number of stranger-rape cases, and in those cases, if you look at this study, you’ll realise that not only are clothing and your chances of getting raped not linked statistically what-so-ever (women, men, children and people of all gender identities are raped regardless of clothing) but “While people perceive dress to have an impact on who is assaulted, studies of rapists suggest that victim attire is not a significant factor. Instead, rapists look for signs of passiveness and submissiveness, which, studies suggest, are more likely to coincide with more body-concealing clothing.”
“This conclusion is inconsistent with the common belief that how a woman dresses has an impact on whether she will be sexually harassed or sexually assaulted. Why then, do many people, including psychiatrists, assume that dress plays some part in who is a victim of sexual assaults? In particular, why do women believe this? Social scientists believe this is the result of the “just world hypothesis.”
The just world hypothesis and attribution error basically explains the reason this rape myth has been around for so long is because, as human beings, we like to believe we’re rational and that the world is logical, therefore we try to attribute certain characteristics to certain victims to believe that not only could we never be a victim of sexual assault ourselves, but that there was some logical reasoning behind what happened. This is really a defence mechanism. No one deserves rape, no one brought it upon themselves - rape only happens because there is a rapist in the room.
The basis of SlutWalk is against victim blaming and slut shaming – it’s about shifting the focus from the victim to the perpetrator. Rape is a crime, cleavage is not.
Telling women how to dress is really a flimsy band-aid over the problem, and one that doesn’t actually statistically or logically make sense. As a society we need to reject this band-aid and focus on real threat management.
(Looking at structural violence and sexism, the objectification rather than celebration of sexuality within society, education systems which don’t have healthy and open dialogue on issues of consent, relationships and abuse are good places to start so we can start to pave our way to a consent culture.)
“When you shame women who dress “too slutty”, guess what you’re doing? You’re perpetuating a culture that blames victims of sexual assault and rape. You’re basically saying that if that woman were to be raped, well, she was kinda asking for it. YOU are the reason why rapists target those women: because you make it easier for them to get away with a horrible fucking crime. Rape is a fucking crime; cleavage isn’t.”
SlutWalk Explained: The Name, The Aims, The Facts.
This is by the amazing Aimee Claire, from the SlutWalk London Team.
Run a student group? Want to challenge victim-blaming and slut-shaming? Here are 20 tips on how to effectively run a sex-positive, anti-rape feminist society:
- Don’t alienate, educate. Not everyone identifies as a feminist, or actively tackles sexism. Many people don’t know what feminism really is. If you feel people at your university/college don’t understand feminism, don’t allow yourself to become a clique – hold discussions, organise meetings, and make sure the message is out there: ‘if you don’t like sexism, you’re welcome here’.
- Be inclusive, anti-racist and pro-sex workers’ rights. Be public in this stance, and actively seek out any organisations local to you which deal with racism and discrimination against sex workers. Don’t wait for them to come to you.
- Invite speakers from local organisations, or from further afield. For example, Black Women’s Rape Action Project, the English Collective of Prostitutes and Women Against Rape, who helped to organise Slutwalk London and spoke at the event (rather brilliantly, I must say), would be glad to speak - as long as you can cover their travel they’ll be there. If you find there are differences among organisations, ask them to speak at a public debate, so people can make up their own minds.
- Organise a speak out, where individuals can speak out about their experiences of rape and other violence. The NUS has found that a shocking amount of students have experienced some form of sexual assault, and that only a tiny percentage tell anyone or see a doctor. Events like these can help change that. (Click here to read the NUS report).
- Root your demands for change in women’s experiences, and target the authorities who have the resources and power to change things. Slutwalk London publicised the dismal UK conviction rate for reported rape of 6.5%. Thousands of rape and sexual assault survivors used the occasion to speak about what happened to them – not just their fury at their attacker but at how the authorities (the police, Crown Prosecution Service, courts, local authorities, medical staff, housing officials . . .) were dismissive, hostile, blamed them and sabotaged their efforts to get their attacker brought to justice. Look at what demands and campaigns can come from those experiences to challenge and hold the authorities to account.
- As far as we at SMSU are concerned, feminist and gender-equality groups should welcome everyone. Including men. Women-only groups/meetings have a time and a place, and that should be respected, but men should not think that this is a ‘women’s issue’ that has nothing to do with them. Patriarchy affects us all, and if we want real change, we need everyone on board.
- Some feminist groups are also cis-women only. Don’t be one of those groups. Just. Don’t be. It is hateful, pure and simple. And hating minorities is not what feminism should be about.
- Make sure that feminist issues are top of your SU’s agenda. Give ‘em hell. If the lighting is poor on campus, protest. Make it policy that students are given free rape alarms. Push for the NUS’s campaign against sexual harassment. Challenge sexism in SU publications, and investigate your union’s sponsors (Dominoes has a particularly troubling track-record – Exeter I’m looking at you). Get your union to affiliate with pro-sex worker, anti-racism and anti-sexism groups. You could even get them to affiliate to us!
- Go to the NUS women’s conference – learn from the other women, but also call them out on racism and anti-sex worker sentiment when you see it.
- Run for sabbatical positions! We need more feminist student unions. You can make that happen.
- Join the anti-cuts movement. At the moment it’s visibly white, male & not very feminist. Remind groups that women are the first to suffer under this government, and that Black, immigrant and other groups facing racism and other prejudice are the hardest hit, while being ignored when they campaign. Support your local rape crisis centre and/or sexual assault referral centre when local cuts come around. Make the economic connections clear – (student) poverty makes women more vulnerable to sexual violence.
- Fundraise. Organise a gig, have a raffle, go down the oh-so-traditional and yet oh-so-delicious route of the bake sale. Raise money for yourself and other organisations, here in the UK and abroad. Fundraise for the next Slutwalk London – we’ll need around three grand to pull off another one, and there’s certainly a lot of people keen to come again!
- Circulate information about practical help, like the Women Against Rape’s self-help guide available free at: www.womenagainstrape.net/resource/self-help-guide-survivors-rape-and-sexual-assault (or order a paper copy), or make your own.
- Keep your members updated on what’s going on in the world. Write a regular newsletter. Set up a feminist zine and get your fellow students to contribute. Who knows, it could be the next Bitch!
- Set up anti-rape groups, self-help groups, support groups for victims of racist and sexist abuse, and make sure that all the local and university-based support services are widely publicised.
- Organise your own Slutwalk, and/or a Reclaim the Night march. The great thing about events like these is you can make them specific to your local community as well as to the international issue of victim-blaming. Is your local council openly anti-women? Are your street lights being switched off? Incorporate it into your march and bring it to the attention of the locals in an inventive and exciting way.
- Encourage students to write to the local papers – they will print them if you make a good argument and/or write from personal experience. This can help shape public debate and make your demands for change visible.
- Send us details of your upcoming events! We’ll share them online with fellow SMSU supporters.
- Make sure that you record your events – film them, take pics and write reports to publicise
what you have achieved (respecting participants who want to remain anonymous). Let us know what you’re up to, too, and we’ll share it with followers of SMSU. Publicise anything you achieve – we’re all used to bad news, make sure your good news travels!
- Most importantly, stand up for what you believe in, never back down when you know you’re right but admit it when you’re wrong & be proud of your achievements. Go out there and shake things up. Goodness knows the feminist movement needs it.
- Caitlin & The Crossroads Women’s Centre
Announcing SlutWalk London 2012
You are all invited to SlutWalk London 2012!
THE RADICAL NOTION THAT NOBODY DESERVES TO BE RAPED
MEET 12.30 at Top of Piccadilly. SET OFF at 1.30pm.
Saturday 22nd September 2012
Route: Piccadilly > Piccadilly Circus > Haymarket > Pall Mall East > Trafalgar Square
March Ends: 2.30pm at Trafalgar Square; anyone who cannot make the march can meet us there for the rally!
Estimated Marching Time: 1-1 and a half hours.
March Length: 0.8 miles
Rally: There will be a rally in Trafalgar Square with speakers, which will take about 1-1 and a half hours. The rally will definitely be finished by 5pm when we have to leave the square; anyone booking coaches should keep this time in mind as while the rally is likely to be over by 3.30-4pm, we can’t predict everything.
Toilets: Public toilets at Green Park Tube Station, in Green Park, in Piccadilly Circus tube station and in Trafalgar Square. Only the Trafalgar Square toilets have wheelchair access.
Accessibility: There are no steps on the route, however it goes uphill at Piccadilly and downhill at Haymarket. There is a lift at Trafalgar Square which is suitable for wheelchairs.
Parking: Please note - there will be limited vehicle access to Trafalgar Square and the route area. We cannot guarantee nearby parking.
Seating: There will be seating areas at the sides of the stage.
Last year a Toronto policeman told a group of law students that in order to avoid being raped ‘women should avoid dressing like sluts’.
Sadly there are many people who share this attitude. Women are constantly made to feel like they are to blame: told they should not look a certain way, should not go out at night, should not get drunk, should not wear high heels or make up or should not be alone with someone they don’t know. Not only does this divert attention away from the real cause of the crime - the rapist - but it creates a culture where rape is OK, where it’s allowed to happen… after all, she must have been asking for it, right?
NO. Let’s raise our voices and tell the world that rape is never, ever OK.
Not if she was wearing a miniskirt or a veil. Not if she was naked. Not if she was drunk. Not if she was your wife, girlfriend, daughter or friend. Not if she was under 16 or a pensioner. Not if she was a woman of colour, an immigrant or claiming asylum. Not if she was a sex worker or in trouble with the law. Not if she was queer or trans. Not if she had mental or physical disabilities. Not if the victim was male.
We are tired of who we are, our sexuality and our choices being used as an excuse for rape. We want the freedom to love and live as we choose.
The only way to stop rape is to put the blame where it belongs – on the rapist, whether they were a stranger, partner, client, relative, colleague, friend, or someone in authority. This is the duty of the police and courts, but instead of protecting us they are denying survivors of rape justice and allowing rapists to continue. Women searching for justice and safety from their attackers are faced with biased police, Crown Prosecution Service and judges who question what women did to deserve or provoke rape, our sexual or medical history, our occupation, our right to be in the UK… no wonder only 7 out of every 100 reported rapes end in a conviction.
So let’s turn up and take a stand. Everyone is welcome - all genders (men included!), races, religions, ages and sexualities. Bring friends, family and banners, and come along feeling beautiful, ready to show the world that we are proud of our sexuality and that there is never any excuse for rape.
~~~~How you can help~~~~
Why are you marching? We need as many people as possible to speak out against the excuses that are made for rape. Tell us why you are marching with us on the 22nd and we will publish it on our website. Email us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org
We still need some money to cover the costs of the PA system, banner material, jackets for stewards etc. We would be very grateful for any donations. You can donate here -http://bit.ly/slutwalk2012donate
We are looking for stewards to assist on the day of the march. If you would like to help out please get in touch with us at email@example.com
Sheila Farmer: Action Alert
Sheila Farmer describes herself as a ‘sex worker being prosecuted for working together with other women for safety.’ Her case perfectly illustrates what SlutWalk London is working against: how outdated attitudes endanger women’s lives and freedoms. The anti-sex work crusade of both illiberal feminists and the conservative right hides a dark, ugly truth of repression, shaming and persecution. Women’s lives are endangered by laws and attitudes that silence their voices and force them into further isolation and victimisation. Sheila Farmer has very kindly agreed to speak at SlutWalk London and we ask that you support her by reading this statement and asking for this case to be dropped immediately. Ms Farmer’s trial will take place on the 5th September 2011.
Ms Sheila Farmer has been a diabetic since childhood and is seriously ill with a malignant brain tumour. Yet she has been charged with managing a brothel and is facing an onerous trial and criminal record.
Ms Farmer used to work on her own but after only six months she was viciously attacked by a man who raped her repeatedly, tried to strangle her and kept her tied up for hours. He was deported after an Old Bailey trial. Fearful of another attack, Ms Farmer vowed never to work alone. She has worked with friends for the past 17 years. Ill health has forced her to cut down so she has taken on co-ordinating clients for other women.
Ms Farmer says ‘I believe strongly that women working as we were should be left alone. The laws are antiquated. I was earning money to pay for my cancer treatment. This moral crusade is making criminals out of women like me.’
Ms Farmer’s flat was raided by the police in August 2010. Following complaints by some neighbours, police officers visited and saw there was no force or coercion. To make things easier Ms Farmer agreed to move. Yet while she was in the process of moving she was arrested. Her insulin was taken from her and she was only released from police custody after a doctor said that her health would be in serious danger if she were to be held any longer.
Ms Farmer has never coerced anyone into work. On the contrary, she has taken great care to protect women from attack. At personal risk, despite threats and retribution, she appeared as a witness in court to ensure the conviction of an armed gang that had attacked hundreds of working women in the south of England.
Ms Farmer is a mother trying to survive in harsh economic times. She only went into sex work because diabetes caused her to lose too much of her vision to keep her job as an IT consultant. Ms Farmer is struggling to survive two serious health conditions. Her consultant has written to the court: “I am afraid the future is uncertain and one can almost guarantee that the tumour will grow and progress in the relatively near future. If possible it would be medically justifiable to try and avoid any stress associated with any prolonged Court hearing.”
Not only does Ms Farmer face a prolonged trial, she faces up to seven years in prison. Why is this prosecution being brought?
- Please write to Kier Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions and ask for the case to be dropped immediately. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Copy to Jo Johnson MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA Tel: 020 7219 7125 email@example.com
The laws which force sex workers to work in isolation and make us more vulnerable to attack must be abolished. For safety’s sake, decriminalize.
SlutWalk London 2012 - Saturday 22nd September 2012, meet 12.30pm at Top of Piccadilly (near Hyde Park Corner).
Tell us you're coming on Facebook!
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