In the lead-up to last year’s march, I discussed the personal reasons behind my passion for and involvement in Slutwalk, and there issues we march for. I told of one true morning that shaped my ideas around victim-blaming and slut-shaming, before which I had none, or presumably incorrect ones. This year, I- we are all- forced again to confront the deeply-entrenched- though not wholly immovable- ideas that society has around survivors of sexual assault, and of women in general. We shouldn’t have to, but we do.
In a world not trapped in a patriarchal iron fist, we would not have to have these marches. Survivors would be believed and assisted; predators and attackers would be justly punished. There would not be a society built upon the backs of women; there would not be a constant uphill battle for seemingly basic human decency.
But, in the lead-up to another march, I am excited. It’s hard to describe the feeling of the day: though we are racked by the pain, loss and vilification of victim-blaming and slut-shaming, we are emboldened by purpose and support. A crowd of awesome babes of all types rallying for rights and treatment we deserve; we are getting in the way and making a scene, as we should. It’s an emotional day, but I feel, alongside the sadness and confusion and bemusement that comes with being a feminist in such a society as ours, hopeful optimism; I am buoyed by the strength of the people around me.
This year will also be a tough one after the recent death of Kat Muscat.
Kat was a friend, and a brilliant femmo colleague; she was a proud, no-bullshit feminist who was a part of the Slutwalk team and made me proud to join, too. Her passion and bravery was contagious; I was so often in awe of easily she made being so prolific and awesome look. Plus she was cool as hell, and so bloody lovely. As a writer, I was so jealous of her talent but so happy to know her at all. It will be a real shit to have to march without her this year- as it will be every day she is not with us- but her spirit was not unlike her beautiful tattoo: “Defiance. Feminism. Empathy”– we will hold this mantra in our hearts when we march, and forever.