I took this photo at Ann Arbor’s Slutwalk 2011. After reading and rereading this sign for a few days, I still couldn’t get over the bravery of this girl to put herself and her fears on a sign like this. The image ended up feeling so powerful and meaningful to me, I used it for a photography assignment to critique rape culture. Critique today was an emotionally-charged, inspiring discussion about our patriarchal society, the change we strive to create, and the courage of this woman and of countless other survivors.
For more information, check out the original post about (and more pictures from) my experience with Ann Arbor’s Slutwalk 2011.
Last Saturday, I went to Ann Arbor’s Slutwalk. It truly was an empowering experience, and despite the issues I know are present with the movement, I felt that we were openly raising awareness in our community about sexual assault and victim blaming. Here are just a few of the chants we shouted as a group:
Whose bodies? Our bodies!
End victim blaming! Stop slut shaming!
One night stand or wedding ring! I don’t owe you anything!
However I dress, wherever I go! Yes means yes! No means no!
I will never forget this experience, and what it meant to me as a person, woman, activist, feminist, and friend.
“When somebody says, “I don’t think women should be raped for wearing short skirts, but what do they expect when they do go out like that?” what you are actually saying is that if a woman in a short skirt is raped, you will be less likely to hold her rapist culpable. Which makes a woman in a short skirt really appealing to a rapist. That’s something that you did. That’s not something the woman in the short skirt did, or something the rapist did. You made that woman a more comfortable target by making it clear that if she got raped, you would be less upset about it, less willing to see the rapist go to jail, less willing to support the woman. A woman is not increasing her risk of being raped by wearing a short skirt. You are increasing her risk of being raped by saying that women who get raped in short skirts should have expected that. Rapists hear you say that. By only raping the women that bystanders agree should be raped, a rapist reduces his chance of being caught and, if caught, punished. And that is why he will pick those women, over and over again, not because there is something more appealingly rapeable about them — they have what any woman has, as far as rape goes — but because he will be less likely to be held culpable for his actions.”
OH MY GOD. This was such a great experience. Instant reblog
The bottom middle picture is my friend Tucker. There needs to be more men like him around.
These are some of my photos (along with my commentary) from Ann Arbor’s Slutwalk (October 22nd, 2011), which I posted to my personal blog . I ended up using the last one for a photography project. I’ll post it as it was for critique soon.