Why I can’t support @SlutwalkLondon any more

I’ve always supported the aims of the Slutwalk movement: sticking two fingers up at rape apologism.

The thing is, the London Slutwalk Twitter account has gone miles off message. Their anti-rape campaigning, it seems, only extends to clothing. If you happened to have been raped by a powerful man, on the other hand, they don’t give a shit.

Yesterday they tweeted a statement about Julian Assange. It featured the standard foil-hattery about the extradition to the US, and ended with a suggestion that he should stand trial–but in the UK.

Now, this is all well and good if you don’t care much for rape survivors. Imagine if you have been raped, and your rapist skips the country. You are told you can only get justice if you go to a country far away, and face a legal system with which you are not familiar, with a trial in a language you don’t speak (but your rapist does).

How is this in any way standing up for people who have experienced rape?

I can’t support Slutwalk London when they continue to engage in coded rape apologism. Rather than destroying rape culture, they are actively contributing to it. They’ve made it clear their support does not extend to all women, all survivors. And I will never support movements which stand for this.

ETA: Slutwalk Britain have disowned Slutwalk London. This is a positive step; I’m glad to see these views aren’t thoroughly entrenched across the whole Slutwalk movement.

Update 28/9/12: Slutwalk Toronto–who started the Slutwalk movement–have responded to Slutwalk London’s comments, finding them unacceptable.

No matter who Assange is, his political involvement and status should never be used to discredit or cast doubt upon his victims or protect him from being accountable. Suggesting otherwise goes against what we believe SlutWalk is.

Update 30/09/12: One of Slutwalk London has taken responsibility for the comment, saying:

The recent views expressed regarding the extradition of Julian Assange were my own rather than those of SlutWalk London. I apologise for using this platform to express these views and hope they do not deter from the purpose of SlutWalk, which is to send the message that there is never any excuse for rape and to demand protection and justice for all rape survivors. – Anastasia Richardson

This late in the game, it smacks of desperate backpedalling to save face. I’ve asked Anastasia if she sees how she (probably unwittingly) perpetuated rape culture. I’ll let you know if I get a reply.



12 thoughts on “Why I can’t support @SlutwalkLondon any more”

  1. I definitely didn’t like seeing this on their Twitter. I had to leave the Facebook group when I had a buttload of horrible ableist apologism and queer appropriation as well. Oyye.

    I tried to be involved in with the organising with it as well but they didn’t seem to listen to criticisms. I told them that they should choose something other than “Slut Means Speak Up” for their web address because of the criticisms of reclaiming “slut”, and they didn’t listen. :/

  2. I think perhaps they need to consult with the people who go on their marches before making statements like this. It’s one thing to organise marches demonstrating for (or against) a particular thing, quite another to issue statements.

  3. I’m with you on this. Angry at the betrayal; disappointed that they allowed themselves to be led by people without sufficient intelligence to understand the logical failings of the position they’ve taken.

  4. It’s a really bizarre thing for London Slutwakl to do. I can’t see the gains, political or otherwise, to be made by a statement like this. It feels like their going out of their way to piss off their own supporters. Are we sure their account hasn’t been hacked?

  5. I have always had some problems with how much the slutwalk movement has seemed to be about clothes rather than a larger understanding of rape apologism, so was saddened but not surprised by the London groups statement.

    This is what happens when a group try to become a permanent rather than transient thing, and it rarely is a good idea. The marches were a positive step, to try to form some kind of campaigning group would have been a good idea, but when you gathered a diverse group of people under your banner for one particular thing claiming a wider mandate is of course wrong, but common within quasi political groups and political.

    Not an anarchist, but socilaist with Marxist leanings, but this seems to be the failing of all organisations with a hierarchical structure, and why people should beware of any movement.

    1. while there are undoubtedly splits in any group, it’s ridiculous for Slutwalk to take this stance since it goes against their main aim. Their twitter page has the slogan: ‘The radical notion that nobody deserves to be raped – 22nd SEPTEMBER 2012’ Apparently that radical notion doesn’t extend to these women having the right to speak up or make an allegation. That they would question this as part of some big conspiracy is depressing and plays into the prejudices already held by some people about women making accusations of rape, and they should know that.

  6. You are told you can only get justice if you go to a country far away, and face a legal system with which you are not familiar, with a trial in a language you don’t speak (but your rapist does).
    Not sure how this ties in, but provided it even gets to court, the second and third parts apply to any migrants and non-English-speakers who get assaulted in Britain.

    Even if a trial in a legal system and language you understand should be a right for victims of crime, it’s worth remembering that it’s a right that a lot of people quite often have to go without.

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