(Photos from) SlutWalk Melbourne 2013 – 31 August 2013

[Note: as an experiment, and initially for one week only, we have decided to allow comments on this and the most recent posts. Comments will still need to be approved, and if the mailbox fills with troll droppings it will be closed again.]

Slut Walk Melbourne placards lead march

Head of the march halted outside St Paul’s

See below for pictures from the rally at the State Library, including a series of speakers introduced by MC Karen Pickering; from the march down Swanston Street; and wrapping up at Federation Square.

Slutwalk Melbourne 2013 is on Facebook and the event page is here.

See also the SlutWalk Melbourne website.

Melbourne’s weather came up trumps for once with a perfect day for a rally. This site was not represented last year, but we were at the first Slutwalk Melbourne in May 2011, where the turnout was probably somewhat larger than this year’s. Some we spoke to mentioned only having heard of the event at the last moment, by word of mouth. However that may be, those who came were challenged as well as challenging, and the march down Swanston Street to Federation Square caught the eyes and ears, and hopefully the minds, of a tidy number of people – very many of whom pulled out their cameras to record the occasion. From the Facebook page we learn that certain threats had been made (this may have accounted for the presence of the men in blue to be seen in one of the photos below), but whoever made them evidently thought better of it on the day.
Mainstream media were not much in evidence, but there is plenty of comment, quotes and some photos on Twitter.
As hinted above, there was much that was challenging, both visually – placards and costumes – and in what was said. Each of the speakers contributed what were in fact nothing short of personal horror stories from different perspectives*, stories of rape and discrimination – but with the emphasis always on survival not victimhood. For the 2011 event the organisers were able to post transcripts of the speeches; there is a lot of work involved in such an undertaking, but it would obviously be admirable if it could be repeated. (One of the speakers was spoken-word artist Hanna Monagle, who delivered her amazing poem “What was I wearing” to great applause. There is, as it happens, a recording available of her reading this poem on a previous occasion – see her page on Soundcloud.) The exigencies of getting the photos meant unfortunately that on this occasion we were not able to make an adequate record ourselves.

*The speakers were:
Stella Young, comedian, disability advocate and the Editor of Ramp Up
Gamilaroi/Torres Strait Island woman Nakkiah Lui, “a playwright, visionary, dreamweaver and a feminist”
Hiba Casablanca, National Queer Officer for the National Union of Students
Hannah Monagle, see above
Matt James, trans identifying poet, activist, writing student and Victorian sex worker
Van Badham, playwright and novelist, columnist for Guardian Australia
MC was Karen Pickering, feminist and host of Cherchez la Femme
(Details taken from the 2013 page of the SlutWalk Melbourne website.)

Gallery 1 – people and placards at the State Library:

Gallery 2 – speakers

Gallery 3 – on the march

Karen Pickering wraps up at Federation Square

Karen Pickering wraps up at Federation Square


SlutWalk Melbourne – 28 May 2011

Part of the crowd at State Library

Around 3000 people attended Slutwalk Melbourne last Saturday. Given the amount of media coverage it is probably unnecessary to detail the background to the event, and there is detail on the Slutwalk Melbourne website and blog. Although the declared purpose was to reclaim the word itself, it was obvious that most of those attending took a wider view, with placards and banners, not to mention slogans, focussing on sexual assault and issues of consent, gender equality, work safety (a prominent contingent of sex workers) and more. The reported comments of two young men watching the march (see The Age 29 May – there is a report also in The Australian) seemingly expressing disappointment probably reflected the feelings of any others who might have been hoping for titillation, although there was no shortage of colour in spite of the wintry day. There was certainly anger and determination in the speeches, and some of what was said was not easy listening, and there were grim faces too in the crowd, but many were also clearly enjoying the chance to make a public statement in such positive company – something that has also been strong at rallies for equal marriage rights.

Photos from the rally and march (the event continued with more speeches and some theatre in the Treasury Gardens, but we were not able to stay):

Women in Lycra posing for photo

Banner from SeCasa - sexual assault survival centre

Placard - My Body is not your Battleground

Placard from victim of rape

Bear (?) in bra and panties

Women holding placard - Don't hate (crossed through) label me 'cos I'm beautiful

Placard - men and kids get raped, were thier (sic) tits showing too?

Leslie Cannold speaking

Sex worker speaking

Cody Smith speaking

Another speaker

Another speaker

Dog waiting for march to start

Organisers head for start of march

Banner of  Australian Sex Workers Association

Placard - I Might be asking for it, but not from you

Placard - A dress is not a Yes

More placards - My outfit has nothing to do with you/ Just coz I'm fat does not mean I'm easy

Woman in 'nurse' uniform and friend give thumbs up for photo

Male and female with placard, his reads - She shouldn't have to hang out with me just to feel safe

Young woman with 'slut' patch on  back

Placard - Don't  blame the victim/ Blame the system

Dog with multi-coloured (rainbow) ruff at end of march

This dog was not surprisingly a favourite among photographers on the day

These photos and others can also be seen as a slideshow on YouTube:

International Day of Action for Community Responses to Sexual Assault – Saturday 1 December

Speakout at the State Library

A world without sexual assault

(These photos are frames from video footage, so not the best …)
Flanked by banners calling for “A world without sexual assault” and the declaration “Consent is Asking & Listening, Verbally and Non-verbally” people gathered in a large circle on the lawns outside the State Library to share feelings and experiences.
Declaration regarding consent

The callout which brought them together, as well as much else, can be found on the website:
http://communitiesresponsetosexualassault.wordpress.com/ – here is part of it:

“We want a day of action calling for community response to sexual assault. We are calling for support for survivors of sexual assault, and a process of community response that prioritises their needs, safety and healing. We are calling for processes that try to change the underlying myths and power dynamics that lead to assault, before it happens. We want processes that deal with perpetrators in a way that challenges their beliefs and behaviours, and gets them to take responsibility for their actions and for trying to change.

“This day is about healing and empowerment of survivors and supporters. It is about saying that dealing with sexual assault is important, and that we all need to work together in our communities to make that happen.”

Some of the participants …

Considering the importance of the issues the response of Melbourne’s activist community woud have to be described as disappointing, though it seemed from the words of one speaker at least that she was not surprised, with hard words indeed for the ‘anarchist and punk’ community. Proceedings began – after a lunch provided by the wonderful people from Food not Bombs –
The Food not Bombs table

with some of the organisers reading a statement, followed by an open mic for those who wished to share their stories or viewpoints:

At the open mic

and ended with a group reading based on Andrea Dworkin’s 1983 address “I Want a Twenty-Four Hour-Truce During Which There Is No Rape,” (www.icasa.org/uploads/dworkin.doc).
More later, hopefully with video.
(contact via worldwithout@post.com)

13 December – video now on EngageMedia: