Brisbane

Photos from Slut Walk Brisbane.

28 May, 2011

Slut is a word I have a difficult experience with. I’ve been called a slut just because I walked past someone. I’ve been called a slut because I turned someone down. A few of my friends have said similar, and at the Brisbane Slut Walk I attended today one of the organisers also echoed this sentiment. It’s actually one of the reasons why the protests are so important to a lot of people.

In our Australian culture we may seem to be swimming in sex but there is a huge stigma attached to it. Many second wave feminists claim pornification and sexualisation lead to sexual abuse, but this hurtful theory dismisses the sexual agency human beings have a right to. Police and other government agencies also point the finger of blame at victims, asking them what they did or wore or said to bait assault. Instead we need to turn the finger around and point it at rapists and abusers.

I attended the Slut Walk because I believe all people deserve sexual agency, and that victims are never to blame for their assaults. It is never a victim’s fault. I think that our society’s failure to dismantle rape culture needs to be called out. We have a right to wear what we want to, and go places we like and have consensual sex with anyone. I especially think that consent in sex is essential. I demand that our education system educates children about sex and healthy relationships. This is why I marched.

I recognise that the Slut Walk concept has many problematic aspects. I recognise that I have privileges (white, middle class, western, cisgendered and being in a hetero relationship) that mean I can’t begin to understand what other people have experienced. I want to learn more, and if people want to speak I will listen. I want to give voice to victims of sexual assault who are for AND/ OR against the Slut Walk concept. If you would like to contribute a guest post, please let me know – natalie at definatalie dot com. Anonymity will be respected.

Here are some pictures from Brisbane’s Slut Walk today.

An outfit photo of Nick, fat and bearded, wearing a green polo under a maroon argyle vest with jeans and a flat cap.

An outfit photo of Zoe who is fat and pale skinned with silver hair wearing a black dress and cardigan with leggings and a green scarf.

A photo of Sonya who is pale skinned with short black hair wearing a black top with pointy shoulders and a brown and black patterned skirt. Her bag is tan and she wears black tights with shiny oxford shoes.

A photo of Rex, wearing a dark faery-like outfit sitting in a blue wheel chair, reaching out to spank her husband creature who has a gleeful look on his face.

A photo of someone in the crowd, the back of their tshirt says "Reject rape".

A photo of me standing and holding a sign that says "It's not my fault. Just don't rape."

A photo of one of the Brisbane organisers of Slut Walk standing on a bench and speaking to the crowd.

A photo of Alan McKee speaking to the crowd. Tiara stands to the left, preparing to speak.

A photo of Tiara speaking to the crowd. Her sign reads "This is what I wore when I was raped. I still did not ask for it."

A photo of Fiona Patten, leader of the Australian Sex Party, talking to the crowd.

A photo of the back of my short blonde head, I shaved up the sides this morning.

A photo taken from behind the Slut Walk march down Edward Street.

A photo looking towards the marchers. One sign sticks out and it says "Ask. Listen. Respect."

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  • Hey, I’m glad I got to say hi. I wish I had said more, but I was so nervous. Anyway still a big fan of your blog.

  • kathryn

    I’ve never understood the logic of guys who call you a slut for knocking them back!  But then I don’t understand the logic of sexual abuse fullstop.  The more people are educated, the better.  I hate being told you shouldn’t do this or that because it might provoke attack.  Don’t tell me to stop, tell the rapists.

  • I’m glad you said hi! I was pretty anxious about the whole thing, I hope you had a nice day!

  • Stephania

    Amen sister. Blaming victims because they wore revealing clothing completely dismisses responsibility of the rapist. There is nothing you can do, say, or wear that can validate someone having non-consentual sex with you.  

  • Jacque Prior

    I love your sign and completely agree with your reasoning for marching in Slut Walk. Victims are definitely never ever to blame. 

  • Sonya

    <3

  • Sadly ‘slut’ is a word that defies all logic and reason, and even emotional sense.

  • Beti

    The guy carrying the ask, listem, respect sign was also carrying his son and walking with a mate. doing us proud Brisbane men

  • Reggie

    My nephew marched today in Brissy. He’s not slutty…in fact he could be more slutty…but he dresses like one all the time. shirt off at any opportunity. My problem is that the people this message is aimed at are too stupid to get it. So what’s the point? No rapist bogan is going to change his ways because of this march, butnis it aimed at them or the authorities? I see it as a lack of direction now that feminism has achieved so much.

  • Feminism has achieved so much that people are still blamed for their rapes? Yeh, no. Even feminists engage in slut and victim shaming.

    There is a long way to go. You can’t shame me into inaction.

  • Annamenke1

    The person wearing the ‘Reject rape’  shirt is me, it actually says ‘reject rape culture’. Rape culture being a society that asks a victim what they were wearing when they were raped in order to establish wether they deserved it or not. A society were we have a word ‘slut’ that applies to one gender with the aim being to cut, hurt and judge them for being sexual. The front of my shirt said “I HATE the word slut :( but it is NEVER ok to rape ANYBODY”…..I didnt walk, my sister was with me, she felt very uncomfortable, I was very conflicted. Listening to the speaches I found myself going “HELL YEAH” and “What the?”. Hell yeah to the indian girl that shared her personal story and views, hell yeah to all the intelligent, thoughtful comments. What the? and outrage to comments like “we are all proud sluts”. I dont believe the answer is to try and reclaim such a hurtful word- it will take too long and may not even be achievable :(. The answer is to educate and to speak up EVERY time we hear someone saying something sexist, derogatory or victim blaming. If we are aware then these incidences happen every day and confrunting them is enough of a battle without having a day that confuses, excludes and alienates people. 

  • cattycakes

    I think this event  might have been more powerful if it had been about the issue of rape/sexual assault and crimes against genders. I understand the underlying premise and the international mobilisation that has led to Slut Walk. My hope would be to raise funds for seriously under funded  rape/sexual assault services and I guess my concern is that this may marginalise people (women in particular) who feel this reduces this crime to an almost humorous and even silly level.

  • Thanks for this post Natalie.  As one of those second wave feminists who has a problem with pornification (although I don’t agree my perspective discounts sexual agency), I’ve been thinking and thinking and THINKING about the Slutwalks a lot.  I would have marched if there’d been one in my State.  I’ve always said loudly and clearly that a woman should be able to walk down the street naked and doing cartwheels.  I think perhaps some of the critique of the Slutwalks concept which claims to come from an anti-raunch-culture/pornification angle is off the mark a bit.  I think it’s so much more complex than all that.  Unfortunately it’s not that easy to get a nuanced discussion going on issues that are so emotive and have so much riding on them.  It serves the media to present a perspective that includes oppositional views when my guess is that all feminists want the same damn thing.

    Thanks for marching and thanks for posting and love your work.

  • adelaide

    OH MY GOD YOU’RE THE BABE WITH THE AMAZING LIPSTICK. i marched next to you for a bit and if i wasn’t so shy i would have said hello! wow. brisbane.

  • Suzanne Daley

    Women do NOT get raped because of how they dress or act. Women get raped because certain men want to feel more power, and rape is their pathetic of way of getting it. Victim-blaming, fear-inducing myths need to be de-bunked – this is just one of the many. The Brisbane Lord Mayor is currently offering FREE ‘Personal Safety & Empowerment seminars/workshops to all women of Brisbane. Book with BCC on 3403 8888. [They are designed and delivered by http://www.sdvma.com ]

  • Sarah

    I just have a quick tidbit on my history with the ‘S’ word…

    Growing up in a small town in Qld, ‘slut’ was the ultimate insult.  It played on your worth as a female being dependent on not being sexually promiscuous, or at least appearing that way. I was bullied by males and females alike with that word (people I didn’t even know in other grades, and even their parents – gotta love small towns) – people who knew nothing about me.  I believe it got worse the more “perfect” and “good” I tried to be – I figured if I could just be pretty, polite and good at school and sports, they might talk about that instead.  Of course any achievements made it worse, so I went the other way.  I became incredibly timid and scared to draw attention to myself.  I just wanted them to leave me alone.

     
    At 28 years old I’ve had a grand total of three sexual partners.  Hardly “slutty”, whatever that means.  I moved from that town the second I graduated from high school, but for years I felt the need to prove that I wasn’t a slut, therefore raising my worth as a female.  I still live with these problems today.  Thankfully, time does help to heal, as does unwavering love and support from my husband, family and friends. It just sucks that people don’t think about the impact and weight of their words, especially on young women who have a right to develop their sexuality healthily, and not with shame or confusion.

  • Anonymous

    There is a lot of anti-establishment resentment built-up out there that sometimes spills over into the streets. The establishment is paranoid about the impact any public rage may have, so it’s in their interest to divert any such resentment into causes that look stupid, as long as they are peaceful, don’t cause property damage and don’t call for the abolishment of any privelages or institutions enjoyed by the establishment. That way, it’s a win-win situation. People get to vent off their anger carrying banners with stupid slogans written across them, others with built up frustrations and watching this will be deterred from carrying anything like it into the streets themselves, afraid now of looking just as stupid, and the establishment will carry on as usual. Everyone goes home happy.

    Peter Szarycz

  • Gotta love it :)

  • Its cool to hate men

    Your an idiot. Get in your place cooking and cleaning its good for you. Speak when your spoken to. Be a real woman you man hating bitch.