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The SlutWalk Seattle was last Sunday, and I think it was fantastic success.  People from all walks of life came out to show their support for the idea that we have to beat back the rape culture and victim blaming that has continued to promote the idea that women are at fault if they are raped.   The walk from the park to the rally area was right through downtown Seattle and people along the route came out to support us as we marched.  

The march was fun, but the best part of the day was the speakers.  We had two very powerful testimonies from victims and their stories had a profound affect on the audience.  

Alyssa Royse spoke about her rape, which happened while she was in her home sleeping in her own bed

Alyssa Royse from Elliot Stoller on Vimeo.

Christy Forrester spoke of her rape, specifically about the struggle to get the justice system to prosecute her rapist.  She opened the evidence bags that held her clothing for the first time since the rape

Christy Forrester from Elliot Stoller on Vimeo.

Tara Hardy - amazing poetry, very adult and graphic language so be warned.  I loved her!

Tara Hardy from Elliot Stoller on Vimeo.

Liz Fawthrop from Seattle Clinic Defense spoke about the attack on women and their reproductive freedom

Liz Fawthrop from Elliot Stoller on Vimeo.

The media I have read has been overwhelmingly positive.  

Hundreds March Against Sexual Assault In 'SlutWalk'

Rape awareness aim of Sunday's SlutWalk in Seattle

My personal take away from this was two fold.  One, rape is far too common in our society and the one things that seems to tie us all together as victims is at some point in the process we end up blaming ourselves.  Why is that?  Sometimes it is external forces that just come right out and say we are fault, but there is also an internal factor that speaks to us..."you caused this".  We were at the wrong place at the wrong time, we were wearing the wrong thing, we had too much to drink, etc.  

The second thing I learned is how incredibly brave rape survivors can be when given the chance to reach out and take part in the effort to educate people about the challenges they face after their life is changed forever by a rapist.  One of the speakers asked how many people in the audience had been raped, and a good third of the people raised their hands.  I didn't.  I started to and then stopped myself.  Why?  As soon as she asked that question I thought "me", but something made me hesitate.  Something in my head tells me I can't admit what happened because it was my fault.  

This is the "after we walk" part of my diary.  Where do we go from here?

Originally posted to PacNW Kossacks on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 09:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism and Progressive Hippie.

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