WARNING: This blog entry contains triggers for sexual violence.
Time for a selfish plug: Stony Brook University will be having its own SlutWalk this Wednesday, November 2nd, at 12:30 in the SAC Plaza. I helped organize it, and you ought to come. There are far worse things you could be spending your time on.
“Now Colleen,” you say, “what is all this hootenanny about trollops marching around?” First of all, you sound like my grandma, and she’s been dead for ten years. Secondly, SlutWalk was organized by activists after a member of the Toronto PD said that if women didn’t want to get raped, they should stop dressing like sluts. Several people took note of the flaw in that logic, and SlutWalk was created, replacing Tim Horton’s as my favorite export from Canada.
Now, I know that I run a queer blog and not a feminist blog, but it would be incredibly shortsighted of me to say that rape is not a queer issue. A couple entries back, I made reference to this thing called “corrective rape,” which is the act of trying to rape the queerness out of somebody. It is an unspeakably ugly act, and probably far more common than you think. It happens to queer people of any gender identity, although non-white and non-cisgendered people run a far greater risk of it for being further away from the apex of privilege.
There is a feminist theory of the “rape schedule.” It is the idea that any female-identified person lives her life under the constant assumption that somewhere, sometime, somebody is going to try and rape her. It is the reason I always have my keys at the ready when I walk to my car at night, why I don’t go to bars alone, why I don’t ride the train alone at night and why I can’t go out jogging on summer evenings when I am no longer in danger of getting sunstroke.
But for every step you take away from the apex of privilege, your risk increases. As a queer person, I have to police myself and second-guess myself every time I want to be “out” in public, and I don’t even have to worry as much as non-white, non-cisgendered members of our community. Every time I look at my LGBTA shirt, I need to run through my schedule for that day and see if I’ll be alone and vulnerable at any time. And if I wear that shirt because I want to be connected to my community, because I want to be visible, am I “asking” for it?
How do we “ask” for it? Do I ask for it by wearing a bracelet that identifies me as queer? Does a girl ask for it because she was wearing a short skirt? It’s a miscarriage of justice to pin the blame on the victim because they weren’t living their life under the constant, tiring assumption that somebody is going to rape them. It teaches us that the only people who get raped deserve it—that if you don’t go to bars, or wear short skirts, or kiss your partner in public, you won’t get raped.
It’s not true. It can happen to anybody, and under no circumstances will it ever be the survivor’s fault. There is only one way to end rape, and that is for people to not rape. And until we stop pussyfooting around the real problem because victim blaming is easier, we will always have this problem on our hands. Until we teach people that everyone has a right to their own body, or what it means to give consent, or why your mom or sister always walks to her car with her keys at the ready and why that is so screwed up, we will never get rid of rape.