from SlutWalk Delhi

Picking up the momentum of over 100 demonstrations worldwide, SlutWalk New York is set to take place in Union Square Park today. The first SlutWalk march occurred in Toronto after a police officer told a group of students if they didn’t want to be sexually victimized, they shouldn’t dress like “sluts.” Kinda like the NYPD’s advice to women residents in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn where a spate of sexual attacks have occurred since March.

SlutWalk NYC is timely for other reasons too, like the victim-blaming that occurred in the highly publicized Dominique Strauss-Kahn case and the acquittals of NYPD officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata on charges of sexual assault against a woman (Moreno has since been sentenced to a year in prison for a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct). SlutWalk NYC organizers are planning to address both issues.

The organizers are also intending to address critiques of the walk, like the issues raised by Black Women’s Blueprint in an “Open Letter from Black Women to the SlutWalk” about its failure to address the concerns and acknowledge the histories of women of color when it comes to terms like “slut.” To be sure, black women have been called sluts, jezebels, hos … everything except children of God. And most times it doesn’t matter what we wear, where we are, or what we are doing. My own experiences of street harassment compelled me to support the aims of SlutWalk though I have not been able to attend an actual march yet. I do have trusted friends who are black women and who have participated in SlutWalk events. Black feminist filmmaker, rape survivor, and activist Aishah Shahidah Simmons delivered a powerful speech at SlutWalk Philadephia and Salamishah Tillet, professor, writer, rape survivor and Co-Founder of A Long Walk Home, delivered a stirring speech at SlutWalk DC. Tillet details the mixed-reception of SlutWalk in “What to Wear to a SlutWalk” and maintains that  “None of this negates the fact that SlutWalk has been the most successful protest against sexual violence in the United States since the birth of the Take Back the Night marches in the 1970s,” a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.

The ultimate test for SlutWalk of course will be whether it can shape into a lasting organized movement made up of women and men of various ethnicity, sexuality, and nationality and committed to end sexual violence against women. In other words, it has to really “walk the walk.”


South Africa’s Lesbians Fear "Corrective Rape"

By Pumza Fihlani | BBC News, Cape Town

Noxolo Nkosana, 23, is the latest victim of a series of violent attacks against lesbians.

She was stabbed a stone’s throw from her home in Crossroads township, Cape Town, as she returned from work one evening with her girlfriend.

The two men – one of whom lives in her community – started yelling insults.

“They were walking behind us. They just started swearing at me screaming: ‘Hey you lesbian, you tomboy, we’ll show you,'” Ms Nkosana tells the BBC.

Before she knew it a sharp knife had entered her back – two fast jabs, then she was on the ground. Half conscious, she felt the knife sink into her skin twice more.

“I was sure that they were going to kill me,” she says.

Continue Reading @ BBC News

SlutWalk: A Black Feminist Comment on Media, Messages and Meaning

By Tamura A. Lomax | WIMN’s Voices

If you’ve been boycotting newspapers, magazines, TV news and the blogosphere for the past few weeks, or if terms like “rape,” “slut” or even “sex” lead you to hurriedly put down the newspaper or magazine and turn the TV channel (as they do for my media-savvy grandmother), then you may not have heard about SlutWalk, a grassroots anti-violence protest movement that has piqued the international media’s imagination. It all began when a Toronto policeman told a group of York University students in January that if they didn’t dress like sluts, they could avoid being raped. (His comment: “You know, I think we’re beating around the bush here. I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this. However, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”) Little did he know his words would become a catalyst for mass anger and action – and much journalistic attention – throughout the world.

Media coverage has ranged from simple iterations of varying press releases to reproving op-eds. The latter is multi-fold. Some, like Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente, find the demonstrators to be solipsistic and out of touch with reality, while others, like blogger Aura Blogando, find the demonstrations to be systemically racist. I stand somewhere in the middle. Like it or not, both Wente and Blogando make valid points. However, the nuanced critique that SlutWalk requires is lacking, particularly regarding women of color (WOC).

Continue Reading @ WIMN’s Voices

Recy Taylor Speaks on Alabama Apology

Cynthia Gordy | The Root

Seated on the stage of a packed room at Washington, D.C.’s National Press Club on Thursday night, Recy Taylor smiled softly as the audience stood and applauded her. Dressed in a royal purple skirt suit, her gray hair curled neatly behind her ears, the 91-year-old appeared slightly overwhelmed by the attention. When a young woman standing to her left announced to her that she is “worthy of the love and admiration that every single person in this room has for you,” Taylor began to weep.

Continue reading @ The Root