Sunday, December 4, 2011

SlutWalk Singapore 2011 - what it was and was not

On my way down to SlutWalk at Hong Lim Park yesterday, I wondered whether what I was hearing out in cyberspace about boneheads allegedly planning to coming down to "gawk" at us was true. I found this rather amusing and wondered what on earth they thought they were going to be gawking at? Me in my bra and knickers perhaps? Do I look like I'm standing around offering up my body to you here?
Or what about these people? 
Yes the title SlutWalk might be misleading but if people bothered to understand the context as outlined in my previous blog post here, people would be less hung up on whether people were going to come dressed as "sluts" and more concerned about the root issue here - that there is no excuse for victim blaming where sexual assault is concerned and that is something that should be universally supported.

Your first cause-related event is always the hardest, which is why it was great news for SlutWalk Singapore that they had a turn out of 650 supporters - and a very diverse crowd at that -  for their first outing, despite the usual afternoon rain that made an appearance later on in the day.

SlutWalk faced up to their critics and sceptics, and triumphed. Those who did not think sexual violence was an issue in Singapore and that SlutWalk Singapore was purely jumping on the bandwagon. Those are the usual people who do not seem to recognise or want to recognise problems in their own back yard. But even if this was not an issue in Singapore, since when should we stop empathizing with serious issues happening in the rest of the world, just because we perceive it to be not happening on our doorstep?

Those who thought it was a protest, or a demonstration, you can take it from the horses mouth (in that case the horse is me) that SlutWalk Singapore was neither. It was a gathering to show solidarity to those who have been subject to victim blaming under the notion that people are sexually assaulted or abused because they have dressed like "sluts". And to denounce that notion and empower people to be free to express themselves in how they chose to dress without such an archaic judgement being passed on them.

Like minded people and causes came together, connected, supported, exchanged ideas, enjoyed performances...
and listened to the impassioned speech delivered by co-organizer Cher Tan....
You might have been expecting something else, but by now hopefully you should have a better understanding of what it was and what it was not.

I really can't wait to be part of next year's SlutWalk. From small seeds big things grow and I look forward to helping to educate and open up the minds of those who are blinded to the issue at hand.

All pictures credited to Irene Ma. For more photography please do also check out this great post on on The Faces of SlutWalk 2011.


Aurora said...

Hi! Thank you for the post. I tried to follow SlutWalk Singapore and the bouquets/brickbats thrown at it from overseas (I live in Europe now), and I am so very happy that the first SlutWalk went well. Indeed many of the so-called critics felt they were experts on the causes of rape, and categorically denied victim-blaming exists in Singapore but in the very next breath, would proclaim that women could help themselves by not dressing skimpily and tempting men (all the while forgetting that "skimpily" is subjective). Talk about victim-blaming, slut-shaming and perpetuating rape myths all in one go.

I am also very impressed that two young women took it upon themselves to do something about a cause that affects many women. That despite the many ugly and discouraging comments, they persevered. I wish there was something like this when I was growing up; would have helped me loads.

BTW, regarding the negative comments against SlutWalk - isn't it interesting that the same opposition is raised in many parts of the world?

Thanks again for the article!

Anonymous said...

Alas, some guys (and girls) still mock the lack of 'sluts' at the Walk, and/or claim to understand the objective and wisely advise "well then choose another name!" (because, see, the name gave them the right to not take it seriously).

Ms Demeanour said...

Hi Aurora thanks so much for your comment it's good to hear your words of support. Actually SlutWalk just had a major brick thrown by one of these so-called "experts" today at The Online Citizen who basically did just that here‘myths’/.
I have to say I find some people's reactions extremely disappointing and I just feel that they are all still missing the point! And I find it incredibly infuriating that they just simply file it under the whole extreme feminism label - because I know that I do not count myself as an extreme feminist. I just know what's right and what's wrong!