Yesterday marked the third annual Salt Lake SlutWalk, a rally and protest devoted to women’s issues in Utah – particularly, issues pertaining to sexual violence. The first SlutWalk started in Toronto in 2011 in response to a particularly ass-headed police officer's suggestion that women avoid rape by not dressing like "sluts," and the events have merrily metastasized over our humble continent and elsewhere since then. The event draws its name from both the practice of slut-shaming (best defined here for brevity’s sake as disparaging a woman for being sexually active) and for the all-too-commonplace occurrence of people excusing away rape by claiming that a woman’s “provocative” clothing or actions means that she “was asking for it.”
Violence against women in Utah is a serious thing : one third of the homicides committed in 2011 were domestic-violence-related, and almost half of separated or divorced women report incidents of domestic violence. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, IT IS IMPERATIVE that you find help and support: you can call the Domestic Violence LINK Line at 1-800-897-5465 , or the Rape and Sexual Assault Crisis Line at 1-800-421-1100 .
The SlutWalk is a new event in SLC, but is gaining momentum and developing into a great place to either get a crash course in general women’s issues activism and/or sexual equality or to connect with like-minded sisters, mothers, and assorted sexual anarchists*. Just at a casual glance, I saw tables from Planned Parenthood , PostMos (a support group / sewing circle and terrorist society for ex-Mormons), the Domestic Violence Council , and many more.
It’s becoming traditional – if something as new and cheekily transgressive as SlutWalk can be said to have “traditions” as such – to wear skimpy clothes to the rally and protest, but the weather was cool bordering on cold, and spitting spring rain right as the walk started. Despite this, the turnout was pretty decent, and the clothing scandalous enough to slow traffic and turn heads, even in a godless jumble-sale of Satan’s playthings like Salt City.
The rally kicked off with speakers, poetry, music, and clown jokes followed by a chorus line of fully nude Utah Congressmen. On second thought, the last two items on that itinerary were probably pure flights of fancy born of a combination of low blood sugar, overexertion due to limping around on my shiny new titanium femur , and the fact that Gerald Long and I had been drinking curdled brake fluid and bass attractant out of an old paint can inside of the City-County building for a few hours before the festivities got underway.
Speaking of Old Ironsides (as I’ve dubbed my revised leg), I did not get a chance to participate in the actual Slut WALK part of SlutWalk this year, as it would have been more of a SlutHobble in my case. Even so, it was great fun to see such a good crowd, and to hear cars honking in what could have been outrage, solidarity, or deeply, deeply misplaced horniness as this year’s procession wended its way around a several-block circuit just east of downtown. Extremities permitting, I will join them next year – I have a feeling that SlutWalk will be back, rain or shine.
*: I owe a debt of gratitude to some random right-wing blog or another – I honestly cannot remember which one because I read them all due to SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESS – because that is where I stumbled upon this perfectly lovely term. Try it: “sexual anarchy.” It practically cavorts off of one’s tongue in the nude.