June 5, 2011

SlutWalk Chicago.

When I arrived at Thompson Center Plaza for SlutWalk, I saw this woman with her buns showing under a wrap that went around her hips—hardly a skirt—and tears came to my eyes. Somehow I just really believe that we should live in a more permissive society.

Here’s a description from SlutWalk Chicago’s Facebook page:

Inspired by SlutWalk Toronto, SlutWalk Chicago is a march in support of education and against intolerance.

On January 24, 2011, a representative of the Toronto Police Service was quoted saying, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized.” SlutWalk Chicago aims to combat the myth of “the slut” and the culture of victim blaming that prevails the world over.

Our mission is to enforce the truth that those who experience sexual assault are never at fault– no exceptions. We seek to combat a culture that teaches “don’t get raped,” as opposed to “don’t rape.”

I see SlutWalk as potentially an effective event. It’s not just the huge attendance. It’s because of what might be able to be accomplished through events like this.

SlutWalk holds the form of a protest. And when looked at from a certain angle it is just that: a protest against the prevailing rape culture. Yes, I said it. We live in a culture that condones the rape of certain people including sex workers, people who dress slutty, drunk people, someone in a marriage in some cases gives up the ability to give permission for sex, lesbians in some cases, people in prison, transgender people or gay men might also be at risk for sexual assault or other violent acts.

Sexual assault (or rape) is not okay. Ever.

So on one level the event is a protest against sexual assault. And one might wonder what good a protest like this could possibly do. Like, how could this possibly make a rapist change their behavior? I don’t think that the event is really about that.

An event like this can really stoke the fires of inner resolve for participants. A real and very positive effect is to feel the support of others and to strengthen our ability to say “no” to inappropriate touch and behavior. It is never the victim’s fault when an assault has happened. But, I know that for me there have been times where it’s almost like I didn’t realize that “no” was an option.

An example is when I thought I wanted or needed someone in my life, and I let things slide that now I wish I had felt the power to stop. I wonder if I had just been able to speak up for myself if that situation might have turned out differently. (repeat story a few times…)

So I think that as we strengthen ourselves by coming together and showing, saying and dressing how we feel that there is also a great potential for a revolution of our culture from within ourselves. Things can become better defined and understood so we can more clearly know what we need to fight against, and where we might be able to say “no” to wrong behavior.

The slightly more variation in dress just seems liberating and right to me. It reminded me of the one time I went to Burning Man—it was a clothing optional event. And I just loved seeing how people really wanted to dress or not dress, and every variation in between.

Sign language interpreter at SlutWalk Chicago

I felt held by my yoga community, too, through some of us that were part of SlutWalk. Also, as I was SlutWalking a Chicago police officer who was overseeing the event was saying something to me. At first I wondered to myself if he was talking to me. Then I recognized him as someone who has attended some of my yoga classes. He was just saying, “hi!” What a wonderful small big city I live in: Chicago.

* This article is provided compliments of Yogic Muse *

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