Listening, always learning, still angry and taking some time

SlutWalk Toronto and the people behind it are listening. We are listening to the criticisms and concerns, we are listening to the personal stories, we are listening to the different perspectives and experiences. We have always tried to recognize the privilege we have and we want to say we do recognize it. We are a small yet diverse group of people who experience different forms of oppression, marginalization, violence, silencing but we also very importantly experience a wide variety of privilege and live in a world that is unequal. We are listening, we are continuing to learn and we are taking some time to reflect and decide what’s next.

Thank you to all those who are participating in constructive and challenging dialogues, and doing so with as much respect as they can. We cannot deny that we are all different and why would we? Being different is a great thing. We all have experiences unknown to others, we all have personal stakes in the causes and communities around us and we all have understandings and perspectives that others may not know. We are personally affected by conversations about sexual assault, violence, privilege, oppression, inclusion and exclusion. We need to listen to each other and learn from each other. We are trying our very best to do that.

We have disabled commenting on our blog for the time being because we are taking some time to reflect. We wish we it didn’t come to this point. Some of the comments have been supportive, some have been necessarily challenging, questioning and bringing perspectives we need and want, but some have been abusive, accusatory and violent. What kind of comments? No, we’re not going to go there. We ask that you trust that we have seen many things in the comments submitted to this site to trigger almost anyone. One privilege we will assert is that this website is in under our control and we will not allow people to throw accusatory doubt on our experiences of assault, to call us any debased name they think is funny, to make rape jokes, to tell us that our personal experiences are disgusting, useless, wrong, and we should be blamed and ashamed of our sexuality and the violence we may have experienced. No. We’re not going to stand for that. If you want to say something, we can value that. Please contact us by email but do so by offering us some respect, even if we don’t agree.

SlutWalk started because a few people were angry at the status quo, we were angry at the Toronto Police, because we were too tired of seeing sexual assault overlooked by many, because we demand better for the survivors of sexual assault, for those damaged by blaming and shaming language, and for the respect that everyone deserves and should be given. We wanted to do something in our city of Toronto so we did. We had no idea months later we’d be here. We’re still angry at a lot of the things we see in our world and we want to see better. We want to work with so many others to fight against sexual violence and sexual profiling that puts people in a hierarchy of who’s valued and who’s not. That’s what we’re hoping for.

We’re taking some time, we’re listening, we’re continuing to learn and we’re still angry.