Slutwalk Brisbane - Tiara’s Full Speech (by forthegirls77)
Thanks Ms Naughty and crew for the video & hosting.
TRANSCRIPT [Trigger warning: Rape, victim-blaming]
[I am onstage holding up a sign that says “This is what I wore when I was RAPED. I STILL DID NOT ASK FOR IT”]
Good afternoon - I just came in literally straight from Sydney Airport so I don’t even know which state I’m in at the moment. [crowd laugh]
I was raped in the sluttiest way possible: at a Ladies’ Night, by a woman, at a swingers’ club. And yes, this is what I was wearing [black bustier, tartan miniskirt, black tights, boots]. When I reported it to the club organiser the next day, she said “Well you looked like you were having fun”. I won’t be surprised if my rapist was here and doesn’t even know I’m talking about her.
It took me a little while to get help; part of me went on autopilot and started calling all the rape assault numbers, look up all the information - the things you get trained to do when you do a lot of feminist work - and for the most part they were helpful, but they all seemed to conceive of rape and assault as something that happens to an innocent girl by a guy in the bushes. There was nothing about a woman being raped by a woman, nothing about being raped in a sexually-charged situation.
Even when I tried to talk to my family about it, even in the most well-meaning way, they asked: “Why didn’t your boyfriend stop this, stop you from going?” Because he owns me apparently, I don’t know; that was news to him when I told him. [crowd laugh] “Don’t you know that’s the sort of risk you put yourself into?” “At least you know not to do that next time.”. So much for getting support.
And it took me sooooooo long to actually come out and say “hey, I really need help, this is messing me up” - because some part of me thought that, even though I knew intellectually I never asked to be raped, I never went there saying “HEY I’M GONNA GET RAPED TONIGHT WOO!” - I still thought, did I do anything to bring this onto myself? Is there some part of me that was still responsible? [crowd goes “NO!”] Am I not innocent enough for this?
And I want to thank the people who heard my story when I first broke with it in early 2010 and shared with me the most amazing support - you have no idea how much your messages, your zines, your emails, private or public, whatever - that support really meant so much to me, because it was so hard finding info from even the most modern feminist areas because there’s not much written about it. Even from, say, the sex workers associations or the kink associations, because - they said “yeah, there’s not much out there”. And they’re fighting so hard to find legitimacy for themselves, so if something does go wrong, hardly anyone wants to approach it.
And that is why I’m here for SlutWalk. And a lot of people have said “Oh, it’s a white woman’s problem, it’s a white country’s problem”. And yes, in one way the issues of sexuality around minorities like myself become a lot more complicated. Because people put assumptions on you - like “oh, you wear a burqa, you can’t possibly have sexual agency” or “oh, you’re a Black woman, therefore you must be sexual all the freakin’ time”. [crowd laugh]
WE ARE ALL PEOPLE! FIRST AND FOREMOST! [crowd cheers & applauds] You could be a slut, and be the dowdiest prude ever - and still be a slut because someone does not care for you. You could be…well, yeah I’m kinda the most hopeless slut ever, I have problems picking up people [crowd laughs] it is kinda ironic. STILL - still - and though people haven’t said “You’re a slut” they’ve said “Oh, but what about your honour? What about your dignity? Wouldn’t people look down on you because you do burlesque and take nudie photos and talk about sex openly?”
It’s stuff like this that makes it REALLY DIFFICULT for any of us to know what is appropriate sex, what is good sexual behaviour, what is consent, what are boundaries, how do we treat each other right! Because there’s just no space to talk about - “innocent person, guy from the bushes” - and we end up hurting each other. I’ve been to feminist groups where they say “Oh I don’t believe in this pro-porn thing, I don’t believe in this postmodern crap”. On the Facebook page there’s “Oh won’t you lose respect if you dress up in slutty clothing”. I used to be a slut-shamer - I used to think that porn stars and sex workers and models were all brainless with nothing to say.
And if we don’t move away from one model of appropriate, and start talking about all the different issues, and all the different ways people explore sexuality, or don’t explore sexuality - slut-shaming and rape culture is not going to go away. [crowd cheers, applauds]
So the next time someone says “hey, you know that friend we have - I think they said something really inappropriate to me but I’m not entirely sure”, or someone went to you and said “Yknow I’m curious and I want to go to this kink club but I’m kinda shy”, or someone says “Hey honey, how about we look at an open relationship?” - don’t make your first response be “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING YOU SLUT”.
And I DON’T CARE if you are the bastard love-child of Paris Hilton and Voldemort [crowd cracking up] and your full-time job is as a stripper in the most (riled?)-up area of the Outback, and you are the only girl there for miles - YOU STILL DO NOT DESERVE TO BE ASSAULTED OR RAPED! [crowd cheers, applauds]
I’m going to read out some of the signs, because I have a very good view of the signs, they all seem to be there [my left] for some reason: “Not fair game when drunk, not fair game EVER, deal with it!” “Yes means yes, no means no, however we dress, wherever we go” “We’re not asking for it - our clothes are not our consent” [crowd cheers] “Only rapists can stop rape”
We all have a responsibility to each other. Don’t make this be the end; make this be the start.
Thank you. [crowd cheers]