Todas Somos Putas?

The first time I heard about SlutWalk Chicago, I raised an eyebrow.

In general, I’m not a fan of reclaiming oppressive language. I’ll never, for example, call one of my friends a bitch, and I’ll never call anyone a ho. I don’t call myself a spic, and you won’t catch me greeting someone with a hearty “what’s up N*****!” I do use the word queer, mostly because I think it is more inclusive than lesbian or that alphabet soup LGBTQQA. So… SlutWalk? My initial response was to roll my eyes. No matter how many people I roll around with, I am not about to go around calling myself a slut or puta. As far as I’m concerned, sleeping with one person or 100 people is a private matter, not up for public judgement.

Except… the public judges all of the time,particularly when it comes to sexuality and violence. For years, I worked as an educator at a rape crisis center, where I obsessively stressed the message that no one asks to be raped or sexually assaulted: No Matter What. Clothing is not an invitation, being drunk is not an invitation, being alone is not an invitation. And yet, people constantly asked me what a woman expected was going to happen if she dressed a certain way, drank so much at a party, or went home with someone she hardly knew. I can think of no other crime where the general public so solidly blames the target instead of the perpetrator. The reality is that the only person responsible for a sexual assault is the person who makes the choice to assault someone. And people all around the world are sexually assaulted every day, regardless of what they are wearing, where they are, or who they’re with. I’ve worked with clients who were grandmas, clients who were men, clients who were children, clients who were wearing sweats and doing laundry when someone attacked them, and way way WAY too many clients who were attacked by family members and people they trusted to keep them safe. Conversely, I can think of dozens of guys I know who would never even consider forcing sex on another person, no matter how they were dressed or how drunk they were.

Which is what SlutWalk is all about. The project started in Toronto, as a response to a police  representative of the Toronto Police Service who was quoted saying, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized.” The marches are designed to bring people together to challenge victim-blaming and to “encourage a revised cultural attitude towards assault and rape.”

I may not personally identify as a slut, but that hasn’t stopped other people from calling me one. SlutWalk isn’t necessarily about reclaiming a term; it’s about challenging one – about working towards a culture that places the blame for sexual violence solidly where it belongs: on the people who commit the crime.

That’s something I can get behind.

Slutwalk Chicago is this Saturday, June 4th from 12-3 pm. For more information, including the march route, visit their website or check them out on Facebook.

 

3 Responses to “Todas Somos Putas?”

  1. Brandi says:

    Well said, Coya! I too am not really comfortable with branding myself as a “slut,” but I do think that it’s important for people to reexamine how they treat and react to sexual assault. I support men and women banding together to put a stop to sexual assault and hope that the Slutwalk provides food for thought for the general community.

  2. Maria Guadalupe Massey says:

    I truly enjoy your writing style. The first Marcha de Putas info I saw was posted by a cousin of mine in Mexico City which I shared. Shortly thereafter I saw a post from St. Louis MO. I had no idea it was such an international movement. Thank you for sharing this. My participation for now was limited to sharing the information & liking the local FB site. Miracles, peace, & joy, p.s. I have shared your post about writing http://proyectolatina.org/?p=2494 “Make Your Life a Writing Residency” which led me to look for more of your work. I found it invigorating, with particular interest for the quote about sacred writing time. I’m using it like a mantra to inspire and renew my dedication to my writing & purpose.

    WORDwitch InCityNews.com

  3. MariaGuadalupe says:

    I truly enjoy your writing style. The first Marcha de Putas info I saw was posted by a cousin of mine in Mexico City which I shared. Shortly thereafter I saw a post from St. Louis MO. I had no idea it was such an international movement. Thank you for sharing this. My participation for now was limited to sharing the information & liking the local FB site. Miracles, peace, & joy, p.s. I have shared your post about writing http://proyectolatina.org/?p=2494 “Make Your Life a Writing Residency” which led me to look for more of your work. I found it invigorating, with particular interest for the quote about sacred writing time. I’m using it like a mantra to inspire and renew my dedication to my writing & purpose.

    WORDwitch InCityNews.com

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