Come One, Come All.

I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to address the recent and past controversies surrounding various SlutWalks around the globe. Being an organizer of one, I kind of feel that I need to comment, though, if for no other reason than to justify why I feel I’m throwing my passion into a worthy cause. And, hopefully, so the fear of judgment won’t win over your heart regarding whether or not you’ll join me.

To me, SlutWalk is bigger than one person with a disgracefully worded sign. And it certainly isn’t about feminism. These are the things it’s being directly criticized for, though. To me, it’s about a group of people of all ages, races, nationalities, dialects, genders, gender identities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, et cetera, coming together to say what so many of the signs at rallies around the world have said:

“STOP VICTIM BLAMING”
“MY CLOTHES ARE NOT MY CONSENT”
“BECAUSE WE’VE HAD ENOUGH”

SlutWalk was born in Toronto as a direct response to a comment made by an officer of the law, who said, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” It was a hey-whoa-there-you’re-wrong-and-how-I-dress-shouldn’t-mean-I-deserve-to-get-raped. Not a hey-I-want-to-call-myself-a-slut-and-parade-around-in-my-panties. The name serves the same purpose now, just as it did then, even if the comment was made miles and miles and months and months away from now. Slut or virgin, no one deserves to be raped. Not a man. Not a woman. Not a child. Not a rich person. Not a poor person. Not a blonde. Not a brunette. Not a redhead. Not someone in a sweater. Not someone in a bathing suit. Not your sister. Not your brother. Not you. Not anyone.

Growing up in South Florida, an area of lush diversity and acceptance, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around ignorance. It’s impossible for me to understand how that woman was able to physically write those vile words and lift them on a sign above her head. I can’t see how people can’t see that rape is not solely a female epidemic. Rape and sexual violence cross all barriers of age, gender, and race. It happens in every state, city, and town, in every country around the world. And that’s what we’re fighting against. We’re fighting against sexual violence, not against each other.

So, that’s the message I want to bring to SlutWalk South Florida. I want inclusivity. I want everyone to feel comfortable coming out and walking and hollering and holding signs. I want our voices to combine and carry and show the world that we’re fighting for a common goal. We’re fighting for the survivors. We’re fighting for knowledge. We’re fighting for awareness. And most of all, we’re fighting for each other. So, let’s do it together. And let’s do it in peace.

— JL

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