Saturday was the big day for DC sluts who got together to protest the victim blaming and slut shaming of present-day rape culture.  Hundreds of us met in Lafeyette Park and marched down to a stage at the Washington Monument, sporting everything from kilts to rainbow suspenders and pasties to just regular ol’ t-shirts and jeans.  Regardless of what we were wearing, we were all saying the same thing: that rape and sexual violence of any kind is completely unacceptable, and as a society, it’s high time we evolved.

If you don’t know what SlutWalk is, or want a reminder of why I think it’s such a worthwhile cause, take a look at In Defense of SlutWalk from earlier this summer.

SlutWalk DC was organized as a satellite event to benefit the DC Rape Crisis Center, an excellent organization that has been serving people of the metro area with counseling, assistance in navigating the medical and legal systems associated with rape, and offering sexual assault awareness education to the community for many years.  The turnout on behalf of the cause and the center was impressive in the spirit and strength of their message and conviction, if not in their numbers.

It astounds me that events like the Equality March and the Rally to Restore Sanity can amass hundreds of thousands of supporters, while SlutWalk DC pulled together shy of 500 people for their cause.  I could rant for a few paragraphs about how this represents a cultural insensitivity towards rape as an epidemic and startling inability to see beyond tired moral messages about promiscuity on behalf of the greater issues, but I won’t.  Why?  Because it undermines the people who did come to SlutWalk and the passion they gave for their cause.   SlutWalkers pasted posters on passing buses, danced to techno pop emitting from tiny rolling speakers, booed the ignorance and prejudice of the DC police who handle rape case reporting, and made noise on behalf of thousands of people who have lost their voices through sexual violence.

What was most poignant about SlutWalk DC, however, was the keynote speaker Andrea Bredbeck, the survivor of three violent rapes, a presenter at the UN Conference on New and Renewable Energy Sources, and now the producer of a documentary called “Living After Rape.”  Her entire speech was amazing, but her most important point was this: even those of us protesting and fighting back against rape culture must be careful where we aim our ire.  Men do not come out of their mothers’ wombs with the desire to rape- it is engendered by a society that permits the attitudes surrounding rape, the ones which tell us how much a girl is allowed to talk about or want sex, about how men should be aggressive and women passive, about which women are respectable and which ones are sluts.  And yes, this is aimed at my sister, and all my high school friends, and everyone who has ever pointed the finger at women in short skirts and red lipstick and demeaned them for what they decided they wanted.  These messages create rape culture, and thus, allow rape into existence.

And frankly, that’s what this whole blog boils down to.  That we are all people, and regardless of how we dress and who we sleep with and what gender we identify as, we all deserve the dignity and respect inherent in our humanness.  Creating those lines, those divisions and moral judgments only serves to justify the violence and dehumanization that begets and is beget by rape.   My friend George summed this up in a late-night talk recently: “all sex is good sex, as long as it is consensual and everyone is having fun.”  I think that holds up for everything SlutWalk is about.

PS: If you like this blog, consider heading over to Between My Sheets where you can nominate me and Forever the Queerest Kids for the “Sexiest Blogger of 2011” contest.  It would mean a lot to get on the list, and all you have to do is comment on the  blog post at Between My Sheets linked above with the title and URL of this blog, and I’ll be entered.  Nominations close August 31st, so be quick about it!  Thanks for your support!

Stay cool, queer kids.

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