On Monday evening, for the first time, I got to attend a meeting for the awesome new Chicago coalition: Sexuality Health Education to End Rape (SHEER). It’s all about a sex-positive approach to rape prevention, and the folks there were great. I especially liked the exercise we did at the end of the meeting: we passed around a sheet of paper that was headed, “I know I can fight rape culture by …” and we all wrote our answers.
I might have disagreements with some attendees about what constitutes rape culture, and we probably have some disagreements about tactics, too. But I still found the list of answers to be awesome and inspiring. Here they are:
I know I can fight rape culture by ….
* speaking up when I see it
* asserting myself vocally and confidently when I feel uncomfortable or violated
* watching what is happening around me even when I have no idea who or what I am seeing
* practicing enthusiastic consent with all my partners in an effort to spread the love, and always expecting more/better from humanity in general (this one has little hearts drawn around it!)
* demanding justice and accountability for survivors that doesn’t rely on the criminal justice system or prison industrial complex
* expressing my point of view when my friends make sexist remarks that perpetuate rape culture
* asking her how many of my fingers she wants inside of her
* talking about my sexual experiences as openly and honestly as I can (this was mine, could you tell?)
* calling it out every time
* inviting my brothers to fight along my side
* not sleeping with dudes who make rape jokes
* challenging my words and challenging the words of others
* educating people, creating events to support prevention and spread awareness, and being a kickass burlesque performer
* defending SHEER and our values when people confuse rape culture and objectification with sex-positivity
* speaking up and fighting back when aspects of rape culture are perpetuated in my presence
* deconstructing images and rhetoric that perpetuates rape culture and naming it where it occurs
* talking to old people and young people — rape culture is intergenerational!
* loving myself enough to tell you everything I want and don’t want.
There you have it, Feministe!
Reactions? Suggestions? Additions?