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
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.
I did not report
I did not report… because I used to love him, because I still cared about him, because - after many a “No!” - I told him to get that condom…
I did not report because I was wearing my shortest short skirt and my fuck-off don’t fuck with me heels, because being cuddled by him felt like one of the safest places in the world. Because crashing at an old friend’s and ex-boyfriend’s seemed far safer than braving the two night buses and the street where the scary boy follows me home every so often.
I did not report because I was angry at me. I felt that he had betrayed my trust, but that I had got me raped. Or assaulted. Or taken advantage of. Or whatever that grey area is between consent, non-consent and acquiescence. I felt that I had not been there for me.
I still replay the night in my head. I could have left. I have a phone and one can find taxis even in Hackney. I could have moved to the sofa. I… There was no physical violence here, no threats. But
there were words - some angry, years worth of feelings and the fundamental schock of saying No! and having that ignored. It takes two, except when it doesn’t.
Intellectually, i know all I need to know, and yet I do not understand. I know that women tend to appease rather than fight. I know that I am stuck in typical circles of self-blame. Yet…
I did not understand. I still do not understand. He - he who once loved me; he - he who thinks he’s a feminist; he - he knew I was in pain. That bears repeating because it is the one conversation I just cannot rationalise. He knew I was in pain and still…
It finally happened. Seemingly faced with a road with no peaceful exit I did the unthinkable. I was stuck. And I did not fight back. “Why don’t you.. Why don’t you just get a condom …”
I am known for being bolshy, for being feisty, for fighting the good fight. And as the 7am - or was it 5 am - light hit my groggy head, and we’d been drunk, then asleep and then we were awake again and the number of No’s! was getting embarrassing, I had fought back, and I had shouted. And then I was sorry, for one does not shout at friends; and then I tried to pacify, for I could not bear to see him upset. I gave his arm a stroke to say “we are cool, just don’t be a dick”.
And there I was, being soft and kind and warm and pacifying, not realising that for the whole of that past year his attempts to ‘be friends’ were actually attempts to claim me, to take me, to - in his own words - “to exorcise the ghost of our old relationship”, with this one last time. And as I - guard down, soft and kind and trusting - tried to use my words - again! - to extricate myself from this non-consensual exorcism - “hm, why dont you just go, go brush your teeth, you smell” - it was his turn to shout. And I was no longer there.
So as the day came, to save from this hell of a night, he raised his voice with me and I gave up. I gave in. I was not there.
This is why I do not report. It was his turn to shout. And I was no longer there.
Anonymous: Why I’m Marching
I’m marching because at 13 I lost my virginity being raped by a total stranger. I thought it was my fault for wearing a dress and not minding him kissing me.
I’m marching because I have been harassed and propositioned so many times during my school years just waiting for my school bus.
No stranger in a car, I’m not a prostitute, I’m getting the bus home from school.
No passer by, I don’t want to have sex with you, and no you can’t watch me and my girlfriend have sex.
I’m marching because I’ve been assaulted more times than I can count for the sole reason that I was alone with them and trusted them as friends or partners.
I’ll have a ride on the back of your new bike my friend, cool! Why are you stopping here? I don’t want you to touch me.
Yes my friends, thank you for the lift home, that’s very kind of you. This isn’t my house, why are you both climbing into the back with me?
Hi boyfriend! We’re going to hang out with your friends at their place? Sounds like fun! Why are you all getting undressed? I don’t want to get undressed.
I’m marching because I have been openly assaulted in public many times, in front of many witnesses, but it seemed socially acceptable.
Hi guys, hanging out at the bar again too? I don’t want to sit on your lap, let me go.
I don’t like it when you pull my top/skirt up or try to casually unbutton my clothing.
I don’t like you grabbing parts of my body while I’m waiting for drinks.
No, I don’t want to have sex with you in the bathroom.
Like every other girl out there I cannot even begin to count the times I’ve been assaulted physically, let alone mentally and verbally. I’m 27 now and still don’t have the courage and self worth needed to speak openly about any of this. I’m marching for everyone else like me.
March with us at SlutWalk London 2012, and tell us why at email@example.com
Why I’m marching on the 22nd
Why I wish I could march
This year I had promised myself I would march for the women’s rights I vehemently support, and as a symbol of no longer feeling ashamed of being raped. Unfortunately, being that I have to move into university on the 22nd of September, I guess this won’t be possible. Yet the reasons for wishing to march are still the same, and I will march in future for them.
I was raped as a 15 year old by my best friend. I knew everything about this boy and trusted him. I thought it was clear that our friendship would always be a platonic one. I didn’t dress like a slut - I was a self-conscious teenager who tried desperately hard to cover what I thought was an awful figure. He invited me to listen to him playing guitar; I didn’t realize this activity would cost me my livelihood.
For years I blamed myself. I figured I had to be a bad person for this to happen to me. People that I told didn’t believe me, they too thought I must have been asking for it. The SlutWalk campaign taught me otherwise - what happened to me was wrong, and not my fault. I wanted to march to make society finally see that people don’t ask for rape, and just what an awful, life destroying thing it is.
March with us at SlutWalk London 2012, and tell us why at firstname.lastname@example.org
(This facial expression says everything about the idiocy of women ‘asking for it’)
My name is Rachael Steemson and this is me and my oversized bust. They are 100% natural and also apparently painted with a neon sign saying ‘Harass me please I enjoy it’.
I try and dress as modestly as I can at (nearly) all times, I’m a big fan of jeans and big T-shirts, yet men still think it’s absolutely fine to come up to me and make inappropriate comments, give me lewd offers and some times even try to grope me. Thankfully I am as my friends put it ‘forceful of character’ and won’t put up with any nonsense, but what if I wasn’t? I turn 21 in September and count my lucky stars that I have gotten this far with only a few minor incidents.
But what if I was not so lucky? Should I have to worry every time I go out that I’m going to get harassed or propositioned for something I can’t help? Should my male friends/ boyfriends have to defend me from every drunken lout who decides to have a go? The answer is no. NO woman should have to put up with attention she doesn’t want. No woman is ‘asking’ to be raped.
The Slut walk cause is very close to my heart for a second reason, back in 1956 my grandmother was raped by a family friend, because it was the 50’s she was hidden away in a half way house on the other side of London from her family until she gave birth to my mother who was put up for adoption as soon as she was born.
Whilst we are no longer in the 50’s where everything got swept under the rug, attitudes to rape are still not correct and I will be marching to hopefully spread awareness and tell the courts that we are not ‘asking for it’.
GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN, IN SAFETY, NO MATTER HOW WE LOOK OR HOW WE ARE DRESSED.
Jane: Why I am Marching
[CONTENT WARNING: RAPE]
I will be marching because for one day I want to be ‘out and not ashamed’. I want to march with my banner, with words that I have chosen to reflect my experience so that I can feel empowered and strong - just for one day!
Silence is crippling but for me necessary at this stage in my healing. I recently told someone new and it affected me badly. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, worrying about seeing this person - worrying that I would have ‘victim’ marked across my forehead, worried that he wouldn’t believe me - then came all of the doubts, the minimising of my experience, the feeling I was going insane! This vicious cycle of two steps forward one step back that seems to accompany me on my journey onward from the night that defined my life as ‘before’ and ‘after’. It’s not always like this when I disclose, not always this severe, but this time was bad.
With all of the stories in the news of late (Assange, Ched Evans) - it’s essential I march for my own peace of mind. These people who throw out comments blaming victims for the clothes they were wearing, alcohol they drank, previous behaviour etc they dont realise what they do. They don’t realise that I and many other victims blame themselves anyway for what happened, for me I blamed myself for going around to his place, I blamed myself for trusting him, I blamed myself for wearing that dress, I blamed myself for drinking - what did I expect? In my stronger moments I remind myself that I said no, he just didn’t listen to or respect my ‘no’ but each time someone blames or doubts another victim, they doubt me and so I remain silent. Well I will not be silent on the 22nd of September, I will be loud and proud of surviving this traumatic event that changed my life. After the assault I felt broken, I actually felt like there was a fault line going right through me - it will always be there, I realise this - but Slutwalk is giving me a voice, a public voice for one day - and I’m going to use my voice and repair that fault line a little at the same time
March with us at SlutWalk, and tell us why at email@example.com
SlutWalk London 2012 - Saturday 22nd September 2012, meet 12.30pm at Top of Piccadilly (near Hyde Park Corner).
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SlutWalk London 2012!
Sheila Farmer's prosecution dropped
Photos: Tom Radenz and Claire Butler