Criticism= good. Victim-blaming= bad.

Does that make sense now?

Is that simple enough?

It better be, for I no longer have any interest whatsoever in defending the words “slut” or “SlutWalk.”  Really.  I’m done.  One more interview with the college kid who wrote me this morning and THAT’S IT.

Right now I’m in triage mode.  Sexual assault survivors I know are hurt.  They feel attacked, and for good reason.  They are triggered.  I am triggered, observing them.  Just because I haven’t experienced rape today, doesn’t mean I won’t tomorrow.  No woman can say she’s out from under the shadow of rape culture for as long as she lives.

Conservative estimates (via RAINN) guess that a person is sexually assaulted in the United States every two seconds.  By the time I finish this post, there will be …  christ, who am I kidding?  Untold numbers of people–sisters, mothers, daughters, brothers, sons–will experience sexual violence at the rate I’m going.

Eldridge Cleaver said that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.  I hate to get all binary, but that’s what happens when I’m pissed off.

So which are you?  A solution?  A problem?  If you’re not sure, ask around.  One of your friends is a rape survivor: ask her.  Ask what she was wearing when she was assaulted.  What she was doing.  What she’d been drinking and how much.  Ask how she’d feel if a discussion on the merits SlutWalk degenerated into a referendum on how her recovery from her rape is going.

Go ahead, ask!

I’ll wait.

In the meantime, I’ll remind you that I’m not so far up on my high horse that I cannot accept criticism.  Far from it–as a Privileged White Woman, learning from others is my job!  I’m serious!  PWW isn’t a label I reject.  How can I reject something that’s true?  I mean, have you SEEN me?


Have you heard back from your survivor friend yet?  The RAINN clock is ticking, you know.

Aishah Shahidah Simmons said in her address to the participants of SlutWalk Philadelphia, “as strange as it may seem today, I’m sure some, if not many people [once] took the position ‘what do you mean take back the night? You shouldn’t be out at night!'”  Will SlutWalks last forever?  I have no idea.  Nor do I care!

We won’t always agree, and we shouldn’t.  A movement like that would be too boring for words–even words like “slut” and “SlutWalk.”




Thank you.

2 thoughts on “Criticism= good. Victim-blaming= bad.

  1. mudmama

    I feel like I’m missing some huge piece of this dialogue? Can you show me where the victim blaming s going on, and where survivors are being puu on the hotseat regarding recovery?

    I’m a survivor, and where I am right now – close to *TWO YEARS* into the criminal and legal proceedings regarding it I think beyond prevention and reconfiguring the culture around that (we need to move to a don’t rape message) I think there needs to be a laying bare of just how entrenched victim blaming is is the judicial system and how few rights and protections victims have in that system and how that totally undermines societies pitiful “don’t rape” message.

    Cause I know my rapist was getting off all over again on how I was treated on the stand at the preliminary inquiry.

  2. Shannon Post author

    Oh mercy, Mudmama, that is so awful, far worse than the stuff I was referencing obliquely. I’ll have to put up a new post about what’s happening in the Twin Cities media around the walk–including a commentary piece I had published today by Minnesota Public Radio News describing how a thoughtful conversation I had with a local reporter ended up feeding the beast itself.

    As crappy as that is, the media is expected to screw up. The justice system, in which we are told to place our trust? NO! People you thought were your feminist allies coming to your personal Facebook page to berate you about your participation in SlutWalk even after you shared a very scary triggering story about how you were called a “slut” after your own rape (which I witnessed happen to my friend)… uh, no.


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